Plibersek voices support for changing the rules around blood donation

Senior federal Labor MP, Tanya Plibersek, has written to the Let Us Give campaign saying she supports a review of the Red Cross Lifeblood’s ban on whole-blood donation from gay men, and bisexual men, trans women and some non-binary people who have sex with men.

Let Us Give spokesperson, Andrew Badcock welcomed the support from the high profile politician.

“We welcome Tanya Plibersek’s support for a review and call on the Labor Government to follow her lead.”

“If Australia adopts a new system that assesses the individual risk of all donors regardless of the gender of their sexual partner, it will open up an important new source of blood to help Australians in need.”

“We have already seen the UK, Canada, France and many other countries benefit from individual risk assessment.”

“In other countries the first step towards dropping the current ban and adopting individual risk assessment was a review and we want to see Australia take the same first step.”

Plibersek made contact with the campaign in response to an email from Let Us Give that included Dr Sharon Dane’s report into the latest clinical research showing the benefits of individual risk assessment. In her correspondence she said she would be happy to see the Red Cross undertake a review of the current rules.

The Red Cross Lifeblood Service commonly says all existing deferrals are under review. However, Dr Dane said what is necessary is “a specific, targeted review” of the existing gay blood ban and the adoption of individual risk assessment.

“The clinical evidence I reviewed, and is contained in my report, shows clearly that there is no meaningful risk associated with moving from the current ban to individual risk assessment.”

“I urge the Red Cross Lifeblood Service to conduct its own review of the evidence.”

Dr Dane also responded to Lifeblood’s proposal to allow gay plasma donation saying, “It is critical Lifeblood be open to new sources of safe whole blood given the need for a more reliable blood supply.”

Let Us Give was formed last month to campaign for the gay blood ban to be lifted and replaced by individual risk assessment. The Let Us Give campaign is auspiced by Just.Equal Australia.

Let Us Give has also written to Health Minister, Mark Butler, seeking a meeting to discuss replacing the current ban with individual risk assessment.

Source: Media Release

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