While the number of people eligible to donate blood has expanded, the agency says it will continue to monitor the safety of the blood supply.
Long criticized as discriminatory, the policy has prevented many gay and bisexual men from donating blood. The Food and Drug Administration revealed a draft of its new approach on Friday.
A nonprofit that supplies blood to area hospitals is asking people to make donations before Hurricane Ian potentially disrupts supplies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges, according to the American Red Cross.
The shift in health policy in most of the U.K. reverses a decades-old rule that limited donor eligibility on perceived risks of contracting HIV/AIDs and other sexually transmitted infections.
"Donors will no longer be asked to declare if they have had sex with another man, making the criteria for blood donation gender neutral and more inclusive," the National Health Service explains.
Lillian Bloodworth, now 92, says when she first started to give blood, other donors would read her name tag and ask if that was really her name or if it was a gimmick for the blood bank.
James Harrison, 81, has a rare antibody that can help treat a condition affecting pregnant women. He's donated plasma 1,173 times. But now he's aged out of the donation program.
The recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration represent a major expansion in testing blood for Zika. The agency had earlier advised testing only in areas with an active outbreak.
Around the world, A's, B's and O's are disappearing from signs. It's all part of a public awareness campaign spearheaded by the U.K.'s National Health Service.