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Content about MSM blood donor controversy

July 17, 2014

‘Sexual orientation is not in itself a risk' - Gay rights activists are calling for all lifelong bans on gay and bisexual men donating blood to be lifted

Being a gay or bisexual man should not mean a lifelong ban from giving blood in many European countries, according to the Court of Justice.

Paulo Mengozzi, one of the Advocate Generals, gave his opinion that refusing blood donated by a man who has had sex with another man is discriminatory, unnecessary and should be stopped.

Geoffrey Léger, a Frenchman, went to a doctor in 2009 to give blood at the Établissement Français Du Sang (French Blood Agency).

Refused for being gay, Léger fought back against the decision.

July 12, 2014

Gay and banned from donating blood? Gay men brought eligible allies to donate on their behalf

Friday marked the second annual National Gay Blood Drive to protest an US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men.

In over 60 blood donation sites across the US, gay and bisexual men who cannot donate showed up with their heterosexual or lesbian friends and family members, who are eligible donors, to give on their behalf.

May 14, 2014

The New Zealand Blood Service has accepted a recommendation that its ban on gay men giving blood be reduced from five years after they have last been sexually active to just one year

Gay men in New Zealand will be able to give blood if they have tested negative for HIV and been sexually inactive for at least 12 months if new recomendations are approved.

Previously gay men had to be sexually inactive for five years before they could donate blood but a team from the New Zealand Blood Service noted that blood banks in neighboring Australia had successfully managed a one year exclusion period for gay men for ten years without any increase of HIV entering the blood supply.

April 7, 2014

Jeremy Hunt, the Northern Ireland Health Secretary, has previously claimed banning blood is needed to ensure public safety

Northern Ireland is being called on to defend its ban against gay men giving blood.

Jeremy Hunt, the Northern Ireland Health Secretary, has previously claimed banning 'gay blood' is needed to ensure public safety.

He has begun a legal appeal after a judge ruled it was up to him if gay men could donate blood in NI. A ban, which was enforced during the 1980s, 90s and 00s, was lifted in England, Scotland and Wales in 2011.

New rules allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood as long as their last sexual contact with another man was more than a year ago.

November 29, 2013

In response to the dire need of a boost to blood banks, health minister Daniel Bahr agrees something needs to be done

German doctors are calling for the end of a ban on gay men donating blood.

The German Medical Association has said it would aim to do everything ‘within its means’ to remove the ban.

A Europe-wide ban prevents all men who regularly have sex with men to donate blood.

While countries like the UK and Sweden allow gay and bisexual men to donate if they have not had sex in a year, other European countries like Germany rule them out indefinitely.

This is because MSM are deemed to fall into the ‘high risk’ category of potential HIV risk.

October 21, 2013

A civil union bill on the Mediterranean island is likely to pass but has raised other issues, including whether gay and bi men should be automatically excluded from donating blood

Malta has reaffirmed it will keep the ban on sexually active gay men giving blood – but the island nation is moving towards same-sex civil unions.

The Mediterranean island archipelago is currently debating a form of ‘gay marriage’ – which could be passed within weeks.

But that has led to questions about other LGBT issues, including about the ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men.

And last week the Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia answered that question in a way that disappointed some and confused many.

October 15, 2013

High Court judge has ruled Northern Ireland's gay blood rules are 'irrational' and could overturn the lifetime ban

Northern Ireland's health minister has said he wants to ban men who have gay sex from giving blood, not gay people.

Edwin Poots has responded to the Belfast High Court who ruled he did not have the authority to impose a lifetime gay blood ban.

On Friday (11 October), the judge ruled he had breached the ministerial code by failing to take the issue to the Executive.

Speaking to BBC News, he said if he did break the ministerial code then he did it 'unwittingly'.

August 26, 2013

A sexually inactive 21-year-old gay man in Ireland, where it’s illegal for men who have sex with men to donate blood, has been blocked from donating until further notice

An openly gay man is accusing an Ireland blood bank of discrimination after doctors requested he stop donating even though he’s never had sex.

While Ireland has a lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men or intravenous drug users to protect blood supplies, 21-year-old Tomas Heneghan claims he’s never had sex with a man before and feels he should still be eligible to donate blood.

August 26, 2013

Moscow’s mayoral candidate Mikhail Degtyarev has announced plans to offer anonymous ‘gay conversion’ therapy sessions and re-introduce a ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men

Russia may bring back its ban on gay blood donors, and offer an additional gay-to-straight conversion therapy service.

32-year-old Mikhail Degtyarev, who is a candidate for mayor of Moscow, said since 65% of all HIV-positive people were homosexuals, the proposal could not be considered discriminatory.

The politician, who has a record of controversial statements, did not name the source of the statistic he used.

August 21, 2013

Gay men in US have been banned from donating blood since 1983 - Evan Low says that's long enough

Calling a policy that bans gay men in the US from donating blood 'a relic from decades past,' the openly gay mayor of Campbell, California has launched a campaign to end it.

Evan Low was turned away at a local blood drive he had led in organizing because of the current policy of the Federal Drug Administration enacted in 1983 during the early days of the AIDS crisis.

July 18, 2013

Opposition lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen has called on the Hong Kong Red Cross to change its rules so that gay men can donate as the group struggles to find new donors

Openly gay Hong Kong lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen has called on the Blood Bank of Hong Kong to allow people to donate blood regardless of sexual orientation after he was stopped from donating.

Currently any man who has had sex with another man is banned from donating blood in Hong Kong but the Blood Bank has been having trouble attracting new donors and keeping up with demand.

July 13, 2013

Yesterday gay men around the country joined in a peaceful demonstration to protest the federal law that prohibits gay men from donating blood

Gay men across the US have joined forces against the 1970’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on gay blood donors.

Gay rights organizations and activists organized a National Gay Blood Drive day yesterday (12 July) where men who have sex with men, also known as MSM, were encouraged to arrive at 53 blood donation centers around the US and attempt to give blood.

July 2, 2013

The German Medical Association has recommended that gay men be allowed to donate blood while people who engage in risky practices be excluded regardless of sexuality

Germany’s national Medical Association has recommended that gay men be allowed to donate blood, provided they have not engaged in higher risk behaviors for a period of time.

Currently men who have sex with men are banned for life from donating blood, but the German Medical Association has said it is open to the idea of banning people from donating based on whether they have engaged in risky behavior within a certain period rather than on the basis of the gender of their partners.

May 23, 2013

New policy will see gay men who have been celibate for five years eligible to give blood in Canada

Canada is lifting its strict lifetime ban on gay men giving blood, although restrictions will still be in place.

The Canadian Blood Services are hoping to have the new policy in place by mid-summer 2013.

While there will no longer be a lifetime ban, men who have not had sex with other men in the last five years will be allowed to donate blood.

The new policy will replace the existing screening criteria, which excludes potential male donors who have had sex with another man since 1977 — the year HIV began spreading rapidly throughout North America.

March 29, 2013

Campaigner Michael Kevin Hernandez wants more gay and bisexual men to have the right to be superheroes and give blood

When was the last time you thought about being a superhero and saving a life?

When I ask people, 'Who is an everyday superhero?' you might answer a firefighter, police officer, doctor, those in the military who serve our country. But we can all potentially be a superhero. You may already be one and not even know it, because you can donate blood.

Each time we donate blood we can save up to three lives. Someone who has suffered a car accident can use an average 100 pints of blood. At that moment when you donate blood you are saving a life. That makes you a hero.

January 13, 2013

Canadian Blood Services have proposed an end to the country’s lifetime ban on gay men donating blood, recommending that those who have not had sex for five years or more should be acceptable donors

Canada looks set to end its lifetime ban on men-who-have-sex-with-men giving blood after a Canadian Blood Services recommendation that the ban be reduced to five years.

In September 2011 the Canadian Blood Services board of directors passed a motion committing the organization to re-examine its policy and in December it recommended to Health Canada that men-who-have-sex-with-men who have not been sexually active for five or more years should be considered acceptable donors.

December 27, 2012

Mexico this week began accepting blood donations from gay and bisexual men – becoming the first North American nation to do so. From now on sexual behavior not sexual orientation will determine who can donate

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.

July 13, 2012

Summer Wu, volunteer for Shanghai-based lesbian organization Nvai, comments about how she feels about China’s lifting of the ban on lesbians giving blood

China lifted a ban on lesbians donating blood this month, but gay men are still strictly banned. Though I am pleased by this achievement, discriminatory regulation still exists.

June 28, 2012

A Northern Ireland court has heard how a ban on gay men giving blood is ‘irrational and unlawful’

Lawyers representing an unidentified man have pressed the Northern Ireland health minister to lift a ban on gay blood donations.

The ban, in place since the 1980s, was lifted in England, Scotland and Wales in November 2011. However health minister, Edwin Poots, has maintained the ban saying it is to ensure public safety.

June 18, 2012

SDLP slams Edwin Poots for 'repellent' backing of gay blood donor ban in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's health minister has been asked to produce evidence after continuing to back a 'bigoted' ban on gay blood donors.

Speaking on the BBC Sunday Politics NI program yesterday (17 June), Edwin Poots said he received two new pieces of research that strengthened his position and said he wants to extend the ban to others who also engage in 'high risk' sexual behavior.

June 17, 2012

Edwin Poots suggests people who have sex with prostitutes and Africans should also be banned from giving blood

Health Minister Edwin Poots is standing by his decision to ban gay men in Northern Ireland from donating blood.

Speaking on the BBC Sunday Politics NI programme today (17 June), Poots said he received two new pieces of research this week that strengthened his position.

However Poots has said he does not want the ban to apply to gay people only.

He said: ‘I think that people who engage in high risk sexual behaviour in general should be excluded from giving blood.

June 14, 2012

Gay and bisexual men around the world are still banned or restricted from giving blood, even when risk is low

Campaigners are marking World Blood Donor Day by calling for the ban and restrictions on gay men giving blood to be lifted globally.

Today (14 June), the World Health Organization (WHO) is urging people to be a 'hero' and give the 'life-saving gift' of blood.

On its website, the UN agency states that 'every one of us can become a hero simply by giving blood'.

However, gay and bisexual men in most countries around the world are banned entirely from donating and in many where it is allowed, are required to abstain from sex for at least a year.

June 12, 2012

Senator John Kerry urges health officials to rely on 'science of today not the myths of 20 years ago'

Senator John Kerry wants the US Department of Health to end its policy of banning gay or bisexual men from donating blood.

Kerry and US Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois on Monday (11 June) sent a letter to the department urging it to move forward with a study that looks at ending the ban which has been in place since the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

May 24, 2012

An Australian Red Cross review of blood donations rules does not go far enough to end discrimination against gay men, campaigners say

Campaigners who want to change Australia’s discriminatory blood donation rules for gay men say a review by the Australian Red Cross does not go far enough.

The newly published review recommends that the time gay men have to abstain from sex before giving blood be reduced from 12 to six months.

The Tasmania Gay and Lesbian Rights Group said that if the new recommendations are introduced the majority of gay men will still be unable to give blood.