Ireland has become the latest country to end its strict lifetime ban on gay men from donating blood. The rule, like in many countries, was implemented during the height of the AIDS crisis, and prevented men who had sex with men from donating blood…for life. Now, with better technology and screening processes, most doctors feel that this rule in nonsensical and ultimately puts the public at risk by limiting blood donations.
The Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board lifted the ban today with Health Minister Simon Harris saying: “The IBTS provides a safe, reliable and robust blood service to the Irish health system and has the necessary programs and procedures in place to protect both donors and recipients of blood and blood products. Furthermore, the IBTS will continue to keep all deferral policies under active review in the light of scientific evidence, emerging infections and international experience.”
Now, sexually active gay men, must abstain from sex with men for 12 months before they are able to donate blood. Ireland joins the UK and Canada with relaxed blood-donation regulations. [PN]