South Africa lifts ban on gay men donating blood
The South African National Blood Service has lifted a ban on gay men donating blood, according to a report.
In the past, gay men were seen as being at high risk of being infected with HIV and could only donate blood to SANBS if they had been celibate for six months or longer, says Mamba Online.
The policy made in 2006 was widely criticised as discriminatory, unfairly targeting gay men while allowing heterosexual people who engaged in equally risky or casual sex to donate.
Vanessa Raju, SANBS Communications Manager, confirmed to Mamba Online that the non-discriminatory policy had been put in place that favours people in monogamous relationships, regardless of sexuality.
She said that anyone who has a new sexual partner will not be allowed to donate blood for six months, and that anyone who has multiple partners will not be allowed to donate blood.
Both criteria are irrespective of a person’s sexual orientation.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, and according the the report, the epidemic in is a primarily heterosexual one.