Let Us Give campaign welcome Germany’s move to individual risk assessment

The Let Us Give campaign has welcomed moves by the German Government to remove the ban on blood donation for gay/bi men and some trans people, and adopt individual risk assessment instead.

Spokesperson Thomas Buxereau said increasingly countries were making the change that stops discrimination against gay and bisexual men.

“Germany is joining an ever-growing list of countries that have ditched the archaic ban on donation from gay men, and bisexual men and trans women who have sex with men.”

“Instead, it is adopting individual risk assessment which focusses on risky sexual activity rather than sexual orientation.”

“We call on the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Service to move more quickly on this reform, so Australia is no longer an international outlier.” Buxereau said.

In Australia, gay men, and bisexual men, trans women and some non-binary people who have sex with men, must abstain from sex for three months before giving blood.

In December the Australian Red Cross Blood Service announced it will conduct a research program into adopting individual risk assessment.

However, it said the research program will take two years.

Buxereau said the timeline set out by the Red Cross was excessive.

“There is significant clinical evidence from around the world showing individual risk assessment is the best way forward.”

“It shouldn’t take two years for the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Service to review global and local research.”

“We call on Lifeblood to expedite its research and reform the existing policy as quickly as possible.” Buxereau said.

Lifeblood say they will undertake a two-year research program to assess whether an individual risk assessment approach could work safely in Australia.

In the announcement they highlight that relevant experts and interest-groups will be invited to participate in an advisory group to plan the program, which will assess community acceptance of the changes required as well as any impacts on donor numbers.

“Lifeblood wants change on this rule too, and we are working on it as a priority.” the organisation said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Lifeblood previously told OUTinPerth that the organsiation is actively pushing for changes to the donation rules for plasma, which will prove a pathway for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men to participate in the donation program.

Lifeblood highlighted that plasma donations are needed by thousands of Aussies each week to fight cancer and kidney disease, to prevent critical bleeding in accidents and trauma, and to help those with immune and blood disorders to live normal lives.

The organisation has repetitively stated that people should be patient and understand that it takes a great deal of time for their processes and policies to change. Lifeblood say the Australian Human Rights Commission has indicated that their policies banning people from donating blood based upon their sexuality does not contravene the law.

OIP Staff

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