Gay and bisexual men will have to wait until June for decision on lifetime ban on blood transfusions

Gay and bisexual men will have to wait until June for decision on lifetime ban on blood transfusions

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service says it will make a decision in June whether to change its lifetime ban on receiving donations from gay and bisexual men.

It is hearing from experts from countries which have switched to deferral periods, including the UK and Canada.

The Health Minister Leo Varadkar has previously said he would favour a one-year deferral period if science backed it up.

The ban was introduced in the mid-80s as HIV infections spread, but lifetime bans are no longer seen as medically necessary.

The Medical Director of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, Dr Willy Murphy, explains why sexually active gay men are currently prohibited from donating blood.

He said: "We can detect if somebody's had an infection any time over a week ago.

"So there's a window period of about a week, when if somebody gets an infection within that time, their donation might be infectious but we wouldn't detect it by our tests and nobody could."

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