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Change to Gay Blood Donor Rules

The Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group said that a proposed change in blood donation rules, just released in a report commissioned by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, will make no difference. It recommends the abstinence period of male to male sex (before donating blood) be reduced from twelve to six months.

Michael Cain, whose case against the ban sparked the review, says that the overwhelming majority of gay men will be excluded from donating, ‘Like most gay men I will still not be able to donate under the proposed policy, even though I have a far, far lower risk of catching HIV than many heterosexual people who can currently donate’, Mr Cain said.

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Tasmanian gay rights activist Rodney Croome cited the review was flawed because the data drawn for the study investigated only rates of HIV among gay men who frequented sex venues and bars, and was not indicative of a representative sample which would include other groups of gay men at much lower risk. ‘The only way to resolve this issue is for the Government to commission a truly independent review,’ he said.

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