Greece Lifts Decades-Long Ban On Gay And Bisexual Men Donating Blood



Greece has lifted its decades-long ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

On Jan. 10, Health Minister Thanos Plevris and his deputy Mina Gaga signed a ministerial decree instituting the policy change, which brings in a new form for people to complete when they want to donate blood. The new form has removed homosexual sex acts from the list of things prohibiting people from giving blood.

The move brings to an end a ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood which has been in place since 1977. The previous form for prospective donors stated that any man who has sex with other men is not allowed to give blood.

LGBTQ rights activists praised the move, but expressed the view that the Greek government has done the bare minimum.

Irene Petropoulou, chairperson of ΟΛΚΕ, an LGBTQ rights organisation, told PinkNews: “Of course, it is great news, and we hope the government will pay more attention to other discriminations in the healthcare system and in education.” Petropoulou added that “gay and bisexual men are free now to give blood without pretending they are straight men.”

In December 2020, the UK eased blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men. The new rules mean that gay and bisexual men in long-term relationships are able to donate blood, whereas previously gay and bisexual men were not allowed to donate blood unless they stopped having sex with men for three months — known as the deferral period. Now every blood donor – regardless of gender or sexuality – has to complete the same health check prior to donation and gay and bisexual men are no longer asked to disclose their sexuality or whether they’ve had sex with another man when donating.

Many countries still have blanket bans on gay and bi men donating blood, many of which date back to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed the rules on blood donation in 2015, requiring men to abstain from sex with other men for at least a year before donating blood. In 2020, the FDA issued new rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic reducing the deferral period to three months.


Source link