France has recently made it easier for gay men to donate blood – but only slightly. Previously, France had a lifelong ban on blood donation for any man who had ever had sex with another man. Now, they have introduced a deferred period of 12 months which essentially means that you may only donate blood if you have avoided having sex in the previous 12 months. Although I am glad there is change, I don’t think this is good enough.
France has stated that if the new change does not introduce additional risk to the blood donation system, they will further ease the policy to be in line with heterosexuals. Heterosexuals may not donate blood if they have had sex with more than 1 partner in the preceding 4 months. It may take France a further year to make the additional change.
Donating blood in South Africa
As I wrote in “Ban on gay blood donation lifted“, South Africa removed the prejudice from it’s blood donation policy in May 2014, allowing gay men to donate blood as long as they have not had sex with a new partner, or multiple partners in the last 6 months – the same restriction as heterosexuals.
Gay blood donation in the rest of the World
Here is how restrictions in the rest of the world look. Deferral period refers to the time period between a man having sex with a man and that man being allowed to donate blood.
- No deferral = good
- 1 year deferral = OK, but could improve
- Indefinite = very bad (i.e. no donation allowed)
|Country||Deferral for MSM|
|Czech Republic||1 year|
|France||1 year (from 2016)|
|New Zealand||1 year|
|South Africa||No deferral|
|South Korea||No deferral|
|United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland)||1 year|
>> Do you donate blood? Let us know how it makes you feel to donate blood as a gay man. Comment below.