Media Release
Monday June 14th 2021
Equality advocates have called on the Australian Lifeblood Service to follow the lead of its UK counterpart by lifting its blanket ban on donation by sexually-active gay men and shifting to individual risk assessment for all donors.
The UK's shift away from banning gay blood donation to assessing the risk of individual donors begins today, June 14, World Blood Donor Day.
Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,
"The UK approach is win-win because it means there will be more safe blood for those in need, and less stigma and discrimination faced by those gay, bisexual and transgender people who have been unfairly excluded."
"Risk of infection with HIV and other diseases through blood transfusion arises from the safety of a donor's sexual activity, not the gender of their sexual partner, and the UK policy recognises this fact by shifting to an assessment of each individual's risk."
"We urge the Australian Lifeblood Service to lift its gay ban as soon as possible so that Australians in need can benefit from more safe blood and so there is less unnecessary discrimination in obtaining that blood."
In England, Scotland and Wales from today (World Blood Donor Day), the old ban on sexually-activie gay men donating has been lifted. Instead, all donors will now be asked if they have had sex with a new partner in the last three months, and if so, whether they have had anal sex with that partner. If they answer "yes" they will be deferred from donation.
In Australia, any gay or bisexual man who has had sex with another man in the last three months is automatically excluded from blood donation, no matter if they are in a monogamous relationship or how safe their sexual activity may have been.
Any trans woman in a sexual relationship with a cisgender man is also deferred, leading to the absurd situation highlighted last week in Parliament by Senate Janet Rice where a trans woman was barred from blood donation but not her cisgender husband.
Mr Croome said,
"In the wake of developments in the UK and other countries we will increase our advocacy in Australia."
"Our goal is to have the blanket ban on gay blood donation lifted well before World Blood Donation Day 2022, and replaced with a new policy of screening all donors for the safety of their sexual activity." 
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.