U.K. DECISION TO LIFT GAY BLOOD BAN WELCOMED
CALL ON AUST BLOOD AUTHORITIES TO MOVE TO INDIVIDUAL RISK SCREENING
National LGBTIQ rights organisation, Just-Equal, has welcomed the decision to lift the U.K's ban on gay blood donors, and has called on Australia's blood donor authorities to do the same.
The U.K. Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs has recommended that all donors be assessed for their individual risk rather than excluded if they are gay and sexually active.
Just-Equal spokesperson and long-time campaigner for blood equality, Rodney Croome, said,
"The new U.K. policy will mean that country's blood supply is safer, more plentiful and less discriminatory."
"The science is clear that screening donors on the basis of the safety of their sexual activity rather than the gender of their sexual partner will increase the safety of the blood supply and ensure more blood is collected."
"We call on Australian blood collection authorities to move to a new policy of individual screening."
Under the new U.K. policy, to be adopted in mid 2021, all donors in a relationship for three months can donate. If donors have had more than one sexual partner or a new partner in the last three months they can donate as long as they have not had anal sex.
"The caveat for anal sex is regrettable because the focus of blood screening policies should be on whether sex is safe, not what kind of sex it is."
"Since the advent of HIV, health authorities have said safe sex is sufficient to protect the health of gay and bisexual men, so it inconsistent to now say it is insufficient to protect the safety of the blood supply."
Earlier this year it was announced that Australia would move from a twelve month celibacy period for potential gay donors to a three month celibacy period.
But this proposed policy has yet to be implemented, meaning Australia is now two steps behind the U.K., which will abandon its three month celibacy period in favour of the new policy.
The current Australian ban applies to all sexually-active gay and bisexual men, as well as transgender women who have sex with men.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.