PLASMA-ONLY OPTION FOR GAY MEN NOT THE ANSWER TO BLOOD SHORTAGES OR DISCRIMINATION
PLASMA PATHWAY LIKE "SECOND-RATE CIVIL UNIONS"
ADVOCATES WILL LOBBY HEALTH MINISTERS FOR INDIVIDUAL RISK ASSESSMENT DONOR POLICY
Currently in Australia, gay men, and bisexual men and trans women who have sex with men, must abstain from sex for three months before giving blood, including plasma.
Let Us Give spokesperson, Thomas Buxereau, said,
"The plasma-only option fails to address the critical issues of whole blood shortages and of discrimination against gay men, and bisexual men and transgender women who have sex with men, in whole blood donation."
"Let Us Give has consistently called for Australia to drop the gay blood ban and adopt a system whereby all donors are assessed for their individual risk.'
"Individual risk assessment removes discrimination and provides a new source of safe blood, which is why it has been adopted in an increasing number of countries including Canada, the UK and the US."
"Only allowing plasma donation is to whole blood donation what civil unions were to marriage equality, a second-class option that fails to remove discrimination."
Let Us Give researcher, Dr Sharon Dane, said,
"It's misleading for Lifeblood to say Australia is the first country to adopt the plasma pathway for men who have sex with men because a plasma policy was trialled in Canada and Israel, with both countries choosing to move to whole blood donation.”
"Israel piloted plasma donation in 2018 but moved to whole blood donation for people classified as men who have sex with men by 2021, while Canada trialled plasma only in 2021 but went to include whole blood soon after in 2022."
"Limiting donations to just plasma was abandoned in those countries for a host of reasons, one of which is the discrimination inherent in 'the plasma pathway'.
“Also, people becoming eligible will mainly be novice donors facing a lengthier donation process when donating plasma.”
“While donating plasma is undeniably important, restricting donations to just plasma for people classified as men who have sex with men is not a solution to the need for blood products."
Mr Buxereau and Dr Dane both encouraged plasma donations by gay men, and bisexual men and trans women who have sex with men, if and when it is approved.
Now the TGA has approved the plasma pathway, the proposed policy will go to the state and federal health ministers and the private blood company, CSL Behring, for their approval.
Mr Buxereau said Let Us Give will write to all health ministers asking them to insist on individual risk assessment rather than the plasma pathway.
For more on the TGA plasma approval:
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Thomas Buxereau on 0415 896 884 or Dr Sharon Dane on 0403 895 268.