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April 15, 2010

Australia Rethinks MSM Blood Donation Ban

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS) plans to review its ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM) as a result of a Tasmanian man’s discrimination case against the organization, The Medical News reports. The case was taken to the State Anti-Discrimination Tribunal two years ago.

According to the article, the case drew attention to the facts that unsafe sex, not male-to-male sex, transmits HIV and that the virus is detectable as early as two weeks after exposure—so all donors can be effectively screened. Currently, MSM are banned from donating blood for 12 months after their last sexual activity.

While the Tribunal ruled the ban should remain in effect for now, they agreed MSM blood donations would pose little risk to the blood supply and stressed the need for a blood donation policy review.

“We think its an opportune time to review the policy as it stands…and we’ll cast a wide net to ensure we canvass all views, but also the review will take of any scientific data or medical findings that [may apply] both here in Australia and abroad,” said ARCBS spokesman Nick McGowan.

Search: Australian Red Cross Blood Service, ban, MSM, discrimination, State Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, policy

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