Just.Equal urges Australia to drop ban on gay blood donors
An urgent call for more blood donations has reignited debate over Australia’s blood donation policy.
A rise in flu and COVID-19 cases has seen the country’s blood supply fall to critical levels.
This week Lifeblood is calling on 17,500 Australians to roll up their sleeves
The shortage was attributed to appointment cancellations due to cold and flu season.
However, LGBTQIA+ advocacy group Just.Equal said allowing gay men to donate would help solve the blood supply crisis.
Just.Equal is campaigning for Australia to follow the lead of other countries in adopting a blood donation policy that focuses on risky sexual activity, not the sex of the sexual partner.
Calls on Australia to adopt individual risk assessment
Last week, Austria joined the UK, Canada, France and Germany in lifting the ban on donors for men who have sex with men.
“These countries have dropped their old ban on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, and transgender women who have sex with men, and instead assess each donor for individual risk,” the spokesperson said. by Just.Equal Australia, Rodney Croome.
“Our estimate is that adopting individual risk assessment in Australia would result in an additional 25,000 liters per year.”
Mr Croome said the individual risk assessment would also help identify heterosexual people at high risk.
“This is particularly important at a time when HIV rates among heterosexual Australians are rising,” he said.
“Individual risk assessment is a win-win solution because it eliminates discrimination and increases the supply of safe blood.”
Just.Equal commissioned its own report to examine the medical evidence surrounding MSM blood donation.
The report is available at equal.org.au/recommendations_msm_blood_donor_deferrals
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