Ireland lags behind on gay blood ban

Researcher James Larkin writes in The Journal about the discriminatory treatment of gay people in Ireland who wish to donate blood.

Twenty four years after homosexuality was decriminalised [in the Irish Republic], the lifetime ban on men who have had sex with men donating blood was lifted.

It was replaced by a one year ’deferral’ so that if a man has had protected or unprotected anal or oral sex with another man in the last year then they cannot give blood.

One discriminatory rule is replaced by another discriminatory rule under the pretext of safety and practicality…..

It is not men having sex with men that should be of concern to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, but risky sexual behaviour.

It is a very good article, but I am not sure that monitoring sexual behaviour and educating society is within the remit of a blood transfusion service. Surely the onus is on all of us to help all the people we know or serve understand the risks and behave sensibly so that they can enjoy their sexuality and the rest of their life without putting themselves in danger.