Switzerland lifts gay blood donation ban

CANGE, HAITI - MARCH 24: Blood tests wait to be inspected at the lab of Zanmi Lasante Hospital March 24, 2005 in Cange, Haiti. Many HIV positive patients come to be hospitalized here, but the majority of HIV infected people will stay at home in their final stage of life and will die there as most hospitals in the country can not take them. (Photo by Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images)

Currently men having sex with men are not allowed to donate blood. But the the medical watchdog for the country now agrees improvements in HIV and Aids detection mean a total ban is unnecessary and the new rules will kick in on July 1. Speaking to Le Matin, Swiss Transfusion, part of the country’s Red Cross, said that allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they avoided sex for a year and more is not a perfect decision, but it is still a step forward. Director Rudolf Schwabe added: “Secondly, it should be based on actual personal behaviour and not on sexual orientation.” The central European country had brought in the blanket ban in the 80s, citing efforts to stop the spread of Aids. Under the new rules men who haven’t had sex with another man for 12 months will now be able to donate. The medical watchdog must also draw up risk assessments for the policy, as well as produce annual reports.


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