Victorian government looks into gay blood donor bans

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The Victorian government will call on all Australian states to lift the ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood at today’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.

Under the current rules men are prohibited from donating blood if they’ve had sex with another man within the last 12 months. The ban is one of several hundred reasons people are turned away from donating blood.

The restriction was introduced when there was concern that gay men who might have recently contracted HIV could unknowingly pass on the virus. Critics however have labeled the restriction outdated saying it does not take into account new technological developments in detecting HIV.

There are no restrictions for heterosexual people who have multiple sexual partners, neither is there any restriction on gay women donating blood.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy told Buzzfeed Australia that the policy was outdated.

“This policy doesn’t align with what we now know about how HIV is transmitted – it’s discriminatory and it’s outdated,” Hennessy said.

The Minister said the public had moved on from the HIV fear of the 1980’s and had developed a much better undertstanding of how HIV was transmitted.

A number of reviews have been conducted in recent years with some recommending a reduction in the abstinence period, but these have been rejected by Therapeutic Goods Administration.

OIP Staff

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