The ban on men who have sex with men from giving blood will be lifted later this year, Secretary for Health Linda Kelly announced yesterday. The ban, introduced during the AIDS crisis in the early 90s, has been the source of protests among the LGBT community in Sanctaria for the past few years.

“Disallowing sexually active gay or bisexual men from donating blood no longer has evidence rooted in science”, Kelly wrote in an op-ed in weekly LGBT magazine Out Now, “it amounts now to no more than quackery rooted largely in discrimination”. Kelly’s piece later explained that, as all donated blood is screened anyway for infectious or transmittable diseases, all the ban currently does is “limit good, much needed blood from reaching its intended recipients”.

The debate on the MSM blood ban was reignited last year after the Sanctarian Red Cross announced that donated blood was at critical levels, and issued a nationwide urgent appeal for donors. Gay and bisexual activities criticised the ban from stopping them for being donors, and as a result exacerbating the blood donation crisis. Clinical Director of the Sanctarian Red Cross, Prof. Ivy Callaghan, said at the time “the ban right now is unnecessary and harmful”.

Though Kelly did not reveal when the ban itself would be lifted, it is believed to be later this year, likely in the late autumn; with parliament is now in recess, the earliest it can sit to debate the legislation is the end of September.

Robyn Gray
Health Correspondent