Labor national conference recognises need to end gay blood ban
Advocates for gay blood donation have welcomed a motion passed today at Labor’s National Conference recognising the need to end the gay blood ban and adopt individual risk assessment for all blood donors.
Spokesperson for campaign group, Let Us Give, Rodney Croome, said,
“We thank Labor’s conference delegates for passing a motion recognising the need for a new blood donation policy of assessing all donors for their individual risk instead of the current policy of imposing a three-month sexual abstinance period on gay men, and bisexual men and transgender women who have sex with men."
"Ending the gay blood ban and adopting individual risk assessment will mean there is more safe blood for those in need and will make the blood supply less discriminatory."
"This has been the path followed by the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Canada, France, Germany and many other countries.”
“Today’s Labor conference motion is an important step towards Australia also adopting the principle of non-discrimination in blood policy.”
“We will now begin lobbying Labor Government members in earnest asking them to ensure Australia drops the gay blood ban as quickly as possible.”
The National Conference motion also welcomes Lifeblood's proposal to allow gay men to give blood plasma but not whole blood.
Mr Croome said Let Us Give believes Lifeblood's plasma-only option is not a substitute for lifting the ban on gay whole blood donation.
“No other country has gone down the plasma-only path because it entrenches a second-class donor status for men who have sex with men.”
"Plasma-only donation is to blood equality what civil unions were to marriage equality, a poor substitute."
“We urge Lifeblood to abandon its plasma-only proposal and go directly to international best-practice, which is individual risk assessment for all donors.”
The successful motion was moved by Tasmanian delegate, Benjamin Dudman, and seconded by Tasmanian Labor Equality spokesperson, Ella Haddad.
Mr Dudman thanked Health Minister, Mark Butler, and Assistant Health Minister, Ged Kearney, who he said were supportive of the motion.
“It’s great I see Labor’s health ministers get behind such an important health reform", he said.
Labor's National Conference motion comes after the Queensland State Labor Conference backed the removal of the gay blood ban in June this year. More here: https://ymlp.com/zDhZvUUUUUUUUUUT
A copy of the successful motion is included below.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668 or Benjamin Dudman on 0447 935 137
Here is the motion passed at today's Labor National Conference. The sections relevant to individual risk assessment are underlined.
Labor welcomes recent news that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has lifted a four-decade-old ban on blood plasma donations for gay men, bisexual men and transgender women who have sex with men, and sex workers.
The proposed 'plasma pathway' is an undeniably positive step but Labor also recognises the need for continued progress towards the removal of the blood donation ban and the adoption of a system whereby all donors are assessed for their individual risk.
The system of blood donation categorical bans for gay men, bisexual men and transgender women who have sex with men, and sex workers is left over from the fear-filled early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Since that time, science has moved ahead with major advances in diagnosis and treatment. Stigma still remains. Part of building an Australia free from stigma and discrimination involves fully removing this outdated ban.
Labor supports practical, evidence-based, best practice models to treat gay men, bisexual men and transgender women who have sex with men, and sex workers with dignity and respect and allows them to donate blood, especially at this time of reduced donations and increasing demand.
Labor notes that Canada and Israel, among others, have moved on from the plasma position currently proposed to a full blood ban lifting without compromising their national blood supplies.
This Conference calls on the Albanese Labor Government to continue working with the TGA, the Australian Red Cross, community-based HIV/AIDS groups and others towards lifting the categorical ban on blood donation and unscientific deferral periods by gay men, bisexual men and transgender women who have sex with men, and sex workers.