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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Medics: gays should be allowed to give blood

German doctors are calling for gay men to be allowed to donate blood. Currently a Europe-wide ban prevents them from doing so, but the German Health Minister said he would welcome a relaxation of the rules. The German Medical Association (BÄK) said that it would do everything “within its means” to remove the blanket ban on men who have sex with men, those with lots of sexual partners and prostitutes, from donating blood.

Instead the BÄK, which represents Germany's doctors, said it wanted to more well-defined rules.

Currently people who fall into the “high risk” category of potential HIV and other disease infection are banned from donating blood. The BÄK has suggested rules which would lift that ban for people who have not engaged in “risky sexual behaviour” for a certain length of time.

What that time span would be, has yet to be decided, the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper reported.

Germany's blood donation policy was criticized for banning “gay and bisexual men” from giving blood - and a change was made to ban “men who have sex with men.”

Health Minister Daniel Bahr said he welcomed the idea of further changes, and said that “if better medical criteria are found then that is progress.” Germany needed, he said, more people to give blood.

Other politicians are backing the change, namely those from the Green Party and the Social Democrats (SPD).

Bärbel Bas of the SPD's health ministry referred the Süddeutsche Zeitung to laws in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, where gay couples who have been in a monogamous relationship for at least five years can legally give blood.

The Local/jcw

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