Thursday December 17th 2020
CALL ON AUST LEADERS TO FOLLOW U.K. LEAD BY ENDING GAY BLOOD BAN
Disappointment over failure of states & territories to push for blood equality during 2020 consultations
National LGBTIQ advocacy group, just.equal, has written to all of Australia's health ministers urging them to scrap the gay blood ban.
The call comes after the UK announced it would drop the ban in favour of donor screening policy that is blind to the gender of a donor’s sexual partner policy and assesses donors on the basis of individual risk.
Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,
"The ban on gay donors, and some bi and trans donors, stigmatises us as a threat to public health and reduces the amount of safe blood available for those in need."
"It also fosters the false impression that all heterosexual people are safe to donate even when their sexual activity is not safe - it's no coincidence Australia's last case of HIV transmission through transfusion was traced back to a heterosexual woman who was not aware she was at risk."
"We have written to all federal, state and territory health ministers asking them to support blood equality and individual risk assessment, or at least ask the nation's blood authorities to seriously consider the UK model."
Mr Croome expressed disappointment that not one Australian federal, state or territory health minister raised individual risk assessment as an option when they were asked earlier this year to ratify the proposed reduction in the current celibacy period for gay, bi and trans donors from twelve months to three.
"After the announcement in April this year that Australia's blood authorities wanted to amend the gay blood ban, just.equal wrote to all federal, state and territory health ministers asking them to support blood equality, adopt individual risk assessment, and urge Australia's blood authorities to at least consider the option, but their subsequent correspondence with us shows that not one did."
“Mr Barr and other MPs missed the opportunity to challenge unjust discrimination and increase the supply of safe blood."
“We acknowledge that the Tasmanian Government passed on community concerns to Lifeblood, and that other governments may have done this too. But passing on a stigmatised community’s concerns falls far short of standing with that community.”
"We urge federal, state and territory leaders to seize the opportunity offered by blood equality in the UK and bring Australia's irrational, outdated and stigmatising gay, bi and trans blood ban to an end."
For this statement on thw web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668