'Gay Blood' Ban Likely to be Relaxed to 12 Months

blood ban

A new policy is to be implemented which would allow men who have sex with men (MSM) to donate blood after a 12-month period of abstinence.


Currently, there is a lifetime blood ban on gay men who wish to donate blood – a law established at the height of the Aids epidemic.

However, other countries nearby – England, Scotland, Wales – have already relaxed the ban to reflect modern-day scientific screening.

The Department of Health is currently examining a policy that looks at a list of options on the issue.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar – who himself came out as gay a week ago – told RTE on Sunday that he was leaning towards adopting a 12-month deferral system, where men who have sex with men can only give blood if they abstain from sex for a year.

Earlier this month a policy review from the Irish Blood Transfusion Service outlined three options on the issue – remove the ban; leave it in place; or introduce a deferral period where gay men could give blood after a fixed period of time.

In a statement to RTÉ news, the minister said the move would bring Ireland into line with many other English-speaking countries
and that he would now seek advice from the Chief Medical Officer on the matter.

The minister also said he wanted to hear from patients before making a final decision,

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