The Victorian Government must promptly implement a reduced deferral period for gay and bisexual men to donate blood following approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
For too long gay and bisexual men have been discriminated against by the blood donation system, making them wait 12 months after having sex before being eligible to donate.
However, the TGA has finally approved reducing this period to just three months, leaving it up to our governments to now support and implement the change.
Victorian Greens spokesperson for health, Tim Read, said that while three months was still too long for potential donors, it was an important start in removing the discrimination facing gay and bisexual men who want to donate blood.
He also urged Red Cross Lifeblood to work on combining the modern sensitive tests for HIV and hepatitis with screening donors based on individual sexual risk rather than the gender of their partner.
As stated by Victorian Greens spokesperson for health, Dr Tim Read:
“For too long gay and bisexual men have been prevented from donating blood.
“Transfusion transmissible infections are not unique to gay men and tests are now extremely sensitive. Screening potential donors for their individual sexual risk rather than the gender of their partner should allow this deferral period to be further reduced or eliminated.
“Three months is still too long but we urge our governments to implement it as a start.”