Gov’t requests review of ban on gay or bisexual men giving blood

Gov’t requests review of ban on gay or bisexual men giving blood

The government has requested a review of the outright ban on blood donations by men who have same-sex sexual relations, Minister for Health Thanos Plevris told MPs on Friday.

Currently, Greece bans any man who has had sex with another man at any point since 1977 from donating blood.

In the context of a donation by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to the Hellenic National Blood Transfusion Center, Plevris said he had requested the president of the center to consider amending rules relating to blood donations “that do not meet the current medical data,” specifically referring to the ban on donations from homosexual or bisexual men.

Main opposition SYRIZA’s health spokesperson, Andreas Xanthos, congratulated Plevris on his initiative.

Greece and Singapore are among the countries that ban men who have same-sex sexual relations from donating blood outright.

Blood supplies around the world are facing unprecedented pressures due to the coronavirus crisis with mounting calls to ease restrictions on men who have sex who men from giving blood, a policy LGBT+ campaigners have long decried as discriminatory.

Many countries introduced blood donation controls in the wake of the HIV/Aids epidemic in the 1980s when infected blood, donated by drug users and prisoners, contaminated supplies.

But Prof. Lawrence Gostin, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, said science had since moved on.

“We’ve got a lot of categorical rules and with modern science, we ought to be able to do better screening,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2020.

[AMNA, Reuters]

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