Here’s Why Gay Men Can’t Give Blood

Although this story speaks about Australia’s laws particularly, I felt the need to leave that part out of the title because it’s an issue here in the US. This is the 21st Century we live in. That we still treat people like this because of something they will probably never get is unacceptable. Now that we’ve achieved marriage equality here in the US, it’s time to focus on a new goal and I believe lgbt healthcare is it, with blood donation at the forefront.

In Australia, gay men who wish to donate blood are still forbidden from doing so despite advances in technology making it much safer.

First thing’s first: The ban isn’t simply on ‘gay’ men, it’s on any man who’s had sexual contact with another man (MSM) in the last 12 months.

That means any man, whether they’re single or in a committed relationship, must avoid all sexual contact with another man for 12 months in order to legally give blood. It also doesn’t matter whether that man always uses a condom, is regularly tested for HIV and other STIs or has a note form his doctor. The same rule applies to women who have sexual contact with MSM. (ie a woman with a bisexual partner)

There are similar rules in place around the world. In the U.S., MSM face a lifetime ban. In Canada the deferral period is five years and in New Zealand it is one year. In some countries, like South Africa and South Korea, there is no deferral period.

Full story

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4 thoughts on “Here’s Why Gay Men Can’t Give Blood”

  1. It seems to be similar here in the UK from the kinds of questions we’re asked when we donate blood. Perhaps they just prefer to put a blanket-ban on the most ‘risky people’ rather than testing each donation. There is always talk of the need for more donors but perhaps the demand doesn’t warrant the extra cost associated with extra testing – I’m guessing this is the issue.

    1. It is definitely pretty ridiculous. I’m pretty sure those individuals infected with HIV are responsible enough to know they cannot give and don’t even attempt it. Everyone else should be at least tested, as you say, Brian. If they need blood as badly as they claim, then allow these people who want to help!! It makes no sense to turn them away.

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. These are stupid laws. Can they also do a blood test to check if people donating are MSM. It’s quite easy to lie. Secondly isn’t there a similar chance for straight people getting infected with HIV without their knowing? Going by the logic of lawmakers only celibates should be allowed to donate blood.
    I always cringe at the invasion of my privacy when I read those questions in the forms.

    1. I agree that they are stupid laws. I’m sure by now those who have HIV or even AIDS have no thought of donating their blood. I mean they aren’t stupid.

      Last night I heard a sad story about a friend who sent a blanket email looking for blood donations for his partner/husband (never legally married, sadly) and one response he received from another gay guy was a big long lecture about the dangers of gay men donating blood. Heartless bastard, really. But I agree that it’s silly to have these laws.

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