New blood donation regulations screening donors based on sexual history rather than sexual orientation have been implemented in Mexico, making it the first country in North America to end its ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.
The new regulations came into effect December 25 and now means any HIV and Hepatitis negative gay or bisexual man who has a history of safe sex and is not a sex worker or injecting drug user may donate blood.
The rule was approved in August and then published in the Official Journal of the Mexican Federation on October 26.
Under the new rule donors are excluded for ‘risky sexual practices’ rather than sexual orientation.
‘Risky sexual practices’ are defined as those which may include ‘contact or exchange of blood, sexual secretions or other bodily secretions between someone who might have a transmittable disease and areas of another person’s body through which an infectious agent might be able to penetrate.’
Mexico’s National Council to Prevent Discrimination welcomed the end of the ban.
‘The previous [regulations] contained several explicitly discriminatory requirements that kept people from donating blood based on their sexual preference or orientation,’ the Council said in a statement.
‘Instead, from now on, medical/scientific criteria will be used to identify pathogens in the blood and the focus will be turned to risky behaviors rather than social groups.’
‘In making these discriminatory distinctions, the [previous] norm explicitly violated the prohibition against discrimination present in the Constitution and the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination, as well as Article 24 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 26 of the International Civil and Political Rights Treaty, among other international instruments of law, which establish that every person is equal before the law regardless of any condition.’
Canada and the US both retain a blanket ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.