Monday July 25th 2022
END OF MAD COW BLOOD BAN PROMPTS CALL TO LIFT GAY BLOOD BAN AND ADOPT INDIVIDUAL RISK ASSESSMENT
The Let Us Give campaign has welcomed the end of Australia's 22-year-old Mad Cow blood ban and has renewed its call for the gay blood ban to be lifted so there is a new source of safe blood for those in need.
From today, Australians who lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 and who were banned from blood donation because of the outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy of Mad Cow disease, will be able to donate.
Let Us Give spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,
"We congratulate the Red Cross Lifeblood Service on reforming outdated rules about Mad Cow disease so that there's more blood for Australians in need."
"It's time to reform equally outdated rules against blood donation from gay men, and from bisexual men, transgender women and some non-binary people who have sex with men, so that we can also help save lives."
"We have safe blood and are ready to give so it makes no sense to retain the old ban."
"It's frustrating that the ban on us remains when other outdated blood bans are being removed."
Let Us Give researcher, Dr Sharon Dane, urged the Red Cross Lifeblood Service to individually assess the risk of all donors in the same way as countries like the UK, Canada and France.
"In a growing number of countries the same screening question in relation to sexual activity is asked of all donors, with deferral based on risky sexual activity, not gender of sexual partner."
"The latest clinical evidence from overseas shows that the safety of the blood supply is not jeopardised by individual risk assessment and there are reasons to believe the safety of donated blood may even be enhanced by it."
The Red Cross Lifeblood Service has proposed the removal of the ban on gay men giving blood plasma, but Dr Dane said that will not solve the problem.
"There are regular shortages of whole blood in Australia and one obvious source of new whole blood is to allow donation from gay men who are safe to do so"
Dr Dane's report on the latest clinical evidence, as well as policies adopted in other countries, can be found here: https://www.letusgive.com.au/research
The Let Us Give campaign is auspiced by national LGBTIQA+ advocacy organisation Just.Equal Australia
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.