Sunday 25 June 2017

Harris lifts ban on gay men donating blood

Gay men will from this week be able to donate blood if they meet the other blood donor selection criteria. Photo: GETTY
Gay men will from this week be able to donate blood if they meet the other blood donor selection criteria. Photo: GETTY
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The ban on gay men who want to donate blood has been lifted.

Gay men will from this week be able to donate blood if they meet the other blood donor selection criteria - including a one-year deferral for men who have sex with men.

Health Minister Simon Harris announced that the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has introduced the change to the blood donor deferral policy.

However, from yesterday there are stricter rules in place for donors who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease. They cannot give a blood donation for five years after completing treatment for the infection.

Mr Harris said: "The IBTS provides a safe, reliable and robust blood service to the Irish health system and has the necessary programmes 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."

The change to a one-year deferral for a man who had sex with men is supported by the most current scientific evidence.

Ireland is in line with similar policies in the UK, Canada and elsewhere.

Only 3pc of the eligible population of Ireland are active blood donors - yet one-in-four people will require a blood transfusion at some time.

Irish Independent

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