29 October 2015
Over in the Netherlands the Dutch government decreed that its gay and bisexual male citizens will now be able to donate blood for the first time under new regulations announced by the European nation's Health Minister this week.
HOWEVER, Dutch men folk must not have had any male partners for 12 months before donating to be considered acceptable donors.
‘I am a staunch supporter of emancipation and equality of people, and at the same time responsible for the safe blood supply in the Netherlands,’ Minister for Health Edith Schippers said in a statement announcing the change in policy.
Previously gay men in the Netherlands were banned outright from donating blood regardless of how long it has been since they were sexually active.
Dutch LGBTI rights group COC said it was disappointed that the changes did not go far enough.
‘The new policy will remain unnecessarily discriminatory. This proposal provides too little, too late,’ COC chair Tanja Ineke told AT5.
Ineke said the policy amounted to no real change for the vast majority of men who have sex with men in Holland.
‘The policy is only of practical importance for bisexual men in long-term monogamous relationships with a woman.’
Schippers defended the new policy by pointing out that countries like Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom maintained similar bans.
HOWEVER other countries including South Africa, Argentina, Spain and Portugal screen blood donors based on whether they have engaged in unsafe practices that could expose them to blood borne viruses like Hepatitis or HIV rather than based on the gender of their partners without significant risk to the blood supply.