U.S. EXPERTS SHOOT DOWN REVISED GAY BLOOD BAN AUST ABOUT TO ADOPT
"To remove discirmination and increase the supply of safe blood, Australia must adopt a new approach to blood donation that screens donors for their individual sexual risk rather than the gender of their sexual partner." - Rodney Croome
American medical experts have shot down a revised gay blood ban that Australia is about to implement.
From Sunday January 31st, the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Service will reduce the mandatory celibacy period for gay blood donors from twelve months to three.
But in a peer reviewed article just published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) a number of respected American medical professionals have called for the scrapping of their country's three-month gay celibacy period and the adoption of individual risk assessment for all donors.
The article considers studies from around the world, finding that "there is substantial evidence that individual risk assessment policies are equally effective in protecting the blood supply".
The medical professionals conclude "we hope the (US) Federal Drug Administration will adopt a policy that reflects scientific evidence and rejects the illogical and unsubstantiated premise that fundamental aspects of personal identity dictate the suitability of one's blood to save another's life."
Just.equal spokesperson and long-time blood equality advocate, Rodney Croome, said,
"This landmark study confirms that reducing the celibacy period is tinkering at the edges."
"To remove discirmination and increase the supply of safe blood, Australia must adopt a new approach to blood donation that screens donors for their individual sexual risk rather than the gender of their sexual partner."
"The current governments of both the United States and the United Kingdom are committed to replacing their gay blood bans with individual risk assessment, and it's time for Australia to do the same."
"We call on the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Service to ditch a policy American experts label 'illogical and unsubstantiated', and adopt a policy based on scientific evidence instead."
The AJPH article considers objections to removing the gay blood ban.
The article's authors note that among gay men who would donate blood the prevalence of HIV is lower than in the general population.
They also note there would be no increase in the risk of other STIs being transmitted through transfusion.
A copy of the study is attached.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.