The lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men in the Irish Republic has been lifted.
From today (January 16) a man who last had sex with another man more than one year ago will now be allowed to donate, as long as he meets the other blood donor selection criteria.
Any man who has had sex with another man within the last 12 months will still be prohibited from donating.
A gay man has failed in an attempt to have his legal challenge to the ban in Northern Ireland on homosexual blood donations examined by the UK’s most senior judges. NI’s lifetime ban on gay men donating blood was lifted in September.
The Supreme Court refused the case because the matter was now “academic” and the application did not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance worthy of further consideration.
It brings to an end the four-year legal battle over blood donations from gay men in Northern Ireland.
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Australia’s Victorian state Government has called on the federal government to end the ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood.
The Red Cross tests every donation but cannot detect HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C in the early weeks of infection.
According to the organisation, there has been just one case of HIV transmission via blood donation since testing began in 1985.
The risk of infection from a blood donation is less and one in 1 million.
State and federal ministers have agreed to review the national donation policy in 2017.
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The ban in the Irish Republic on gay men donating blood will be finally lifted on January 16 next year. The ban was put in place in Ireland during the 1980s when Aids was a major sexual health risk, especially in the gay community.
Health Minister Simon Harris, pictured, announced he would lift the ban after the Irish Blood Transfusion Service recommended that gay men should be able to donate blood, following a review of scientific research and practices in other countries.
The ban was lifted in England, Scotland and Wales five years ago, and in Northern Ireland the ban was lifted last month.
Northern Ireland’s lifetime ban on gay men donating blood is to be lifted on Thursday. Men whose last sexual contact with another man was more than 12 months ago will be free to donate blood so long as they meet the other donor criteria.
The change means Northern Ireland has come into line at last with England, Scotland and Wales.
Previously in Northern Ireland, any man who had sex with another man was banned from giving blood permanently.
It has taken them five years to catch up with the rest of the UK, where the rules were changed in 2011.
Last December the U.S. Food and Drug Administration overturned a 30-year ban on all blood donations from men who have sex with men, saying the change was based on science showing an indefinite ban was not necessary to prevent transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus.
Now the FDA has signalled it is reviewing its blood donor deferral recommendations. They currently prohibit donations from gay men for a year following their last sexual encounter in order to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Many other countries follow the same rule.
One of the proposals is Individual risk assessments, which could consider whether an individual has been in a monogamous relationship.
The FDA has invited interested parties and persons to submit comments, backed by scientific evidence, supporting alternative potential policies, to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, in which 49 people were murdered, almost all of them members of the LGBT community, a vestige of the era of AIDS paranoia and hysteria was resurrected. Many gay and bisexual men were summarily banned from giving blood, despite the desperate need for donations to help the 53 hospitalized survivors. FDA policy prohibits men who have had sex with men in the last year from donating blood. A community already grieving and feeling under attack now found itself unable to participate in the most immediate way of helping its members heal,
writes Kali Holoway.
This is outdated thinking, steeped in homophobia and baseless fear; a relic of the early 1980s, when reliable testing for AIDS took an extensive period of time. … HIV/AIDS is now detectable in blood as little as nine days after exposure. What’s more, all blood is screened after donation, regardless of who gave it. That heterosexual blood donors, regardless of the number of partners they have had and whether or not they have practiced safe sex, face no donation ban highlights the glaring and underlying unfairness of the FDA’s position.
Exactly. Let’s try to end this offensive discrimination against gay men and men who have sex with men, for once and for all.
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.
The lifetime ban on gay men giving blood in Northern Ireland is to end. Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has lifted the ban on blood donations by men who have had sex with other men.
The decision follows an Appeal Court ruling in March, and substantial new evidence showing that the risk of contracting HIV from donated blood is lower with a one-year deferral than with a lifetime ban.
Gay men who want to donate blood must not have had sex with another man for a year before they can. Northern Ireland is now in line with the rest of the UK.