Miguel Medina/Agence France Press | 16275ga
Gay men in France were officially permitted to donate blood from last Monday after having been banned from doing so for 30 years, reports Radio France.
The lifting of the ban was one of President François Hollande’s 2012 election promises. France’s ban on lesbians donating blood was lifted in 2002.
Gay men will still have to abstain from sex with other males for a total of 12 months before they can donate. For the donation of plasma, gay males are required to abstain from sex for four months.
In 2014, 1.6 million people donated blood in France, and their blood was screened for blood transmissible diseases including syphilis, viral hepatitis B and C, HIV and HTLV. Among that number of donors, between 10 and 15 every year were found to be carrying the HIV virus, meaning the residual risk of receiving HIV contaminated blood is about one in 3.5 million. The last case of a patient contracting the HIV virus in France after receiving donated blood was 13 years ago.
No restrictions of any kind are placed on the sexual practices of straight blood donors, which is why although outright bans have been lifted in many countries, gay men are still being discriminated against.