Ban on gay men donating blood to be lifted

Ban on gay men donating blood to be lifted

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) have welcomed the decision by Minister for Health, Simon Harris to remove the permanent ban on blood donation by gay men.

“We welcome the decision by Minister Harris to remove the permanent ban on blood donations by gay men.

"The ban carried an outdated stigma for all gay and bisexual men that has persisted since the 1980s when it was first introduced” said Brian Sheehan, Director of GLEN.

“The replacement by a one-year deferral for gay men is good progress and we would expect that this would be kept under close review on the basis of the further scientific evidence and experience from other countries, many of whom have already reduced or will reduce the deferral period further.” said Sheehan.

Earlier Ireland is lifting the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.

Health Minister Simon Harris revealed the decision days after the reform was recommended in a report by the board of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS).

The move will allow men who have sex with men to donate blood a year after being sexually active or five years after they have been cleared of a sexually transmitted infection.

Ireland's lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men was put in place in the 1980s when Aids became a major sexual health risk. The reform now brings the Republic into line with the North, which commences its new policy in September.

Mr Harris said he welcomed the move.

"I would like to thank the chair of the IBTS, Professor Anthony Staines for their work and I have asked that they continue to engage with my officials on the development of a robust implementation plan to support this change in blood donation policy so that the policy change, its rationale and its implications can be well implemented and clearly explained to all potential blood donors, recipients of blood products and the general public," he said.

"Once this is in place it will be possible to set a date from which this policy change will commence."


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