CALL FOR AUS TO FOLLOW GLOBAL TREND AND IMPLEMENT INDIVIDUAL RISK ASSESSMENT
Just.Equal Australia has renewed its call for gay men whose blood is safe to be allowed to give blood as donations drop due to Covid.
The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Service has appealled for 3,200 more donors
as the latest Covid wave sees an increase in existing donors who are infected and self-isolating.
Currently, gay and bisexual men, and some trans women, must abstain from sex for three months before donating, a policy which a recent report by Just.Equal found is out of step with international research (report attached).
Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,
"A significant part of the Covid-related shortfall could be made up by allowing donations from those gay and bisexual men, and trans women, whose blood is safe but who are currently barred."
"Since the beginning of 2022, Greece
have joined the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Israel and Argentina and a rising number of other countries in removing former gay blood bans."
Mr Croome said Just.Equal supports an alternate policy of screening all potential donors for their individual risk.
"Other countries have replaced their former gay blood bans with individuals risk assessment, with a resulting increase in safe blood", he said.
"In Australia, individual risk assessment for all donors will make the blood supply even safer than it is because the proportion of gay men newly-infected with HIV is decreasing dramatically, while the proportion of hetersexual people newly infected is increasing."
"If Australia's blood service and blood authorities refuse to go down the path of individual risk assessment they need to shoulder some responsibility for blood shortages."
In October last year, Just.Equal released a landmark report showing the mounting evidence that it is safe to move from the current gay blood ban to the assessment of donors based on their individual risk. An updated version of the report is attached.
News report about current Australian blood shortfall:
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668 or Dr Sharon Dane on 0403 895 268.