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.