EU Court of Justice: Gay Blood Ban "May Be Justified"

blood ban

European Union Court of Justice has ruled that a lifetime blood donation ban for men who have sex with men “may be justified”, saying that it would uphold each member state’s right to keep the ban in place.


The court also ruled that national authorities have to be able to establish that such men were in fact at high risk of acquiring diseases such as HIV, by having an accurate blood screening process to protect recipients of donated blood, instead of banning gay men from donating blood altogether.

Ireland still maintains a lifetime ban for men who have sex with men, but Health Minister Leo Varadkar hopes to change it to a 12-month deferral period.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) drew up a report for Varadkar, giving other options to the lifetime ban.

The UK lifted the ban in 2011 to a similar 12-month waiting period – gay and bisexual men can donate blood if they have not been sexually active in the last year.

In a statement this morning, Varadkar said: “Any decision will be guided by medical and scientific evidence and best international practice. I do not see this as an equality issue.”

In January, it was revealed that the Northern Ireland Department of Health spent £39,000 of taxpayer money to defend the lifetime blood donation ban on gay and bisexual men.

© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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