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NZ blood service defends gay men donation policy

Author
NZ Newswire,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 Dec 2017, 12:24PM
Gay men will have to continue to wait a year between sexual intercourse before donating. (Photo / File)
Gay men will have to continue to wait a year between sexual intercourse before donating. (Photo / File)

NZ blood service defends gay men donation policy

Author
NZ Newswire,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 Dec 2017, 12:24PM

The New Zealand Blood Service has no plans to change deferral periods for gay men wanting to donate.

Chief executive Sam Cliffe says it's not discrimination against the community, but is a deferral based on their behaviours.

Men are deferred - not banned, the service says - from donating blood if they've had sex with another man in the past 12 months.

Women too are deferred if a man they've had sex with had had sex with a man in the last 12 month.

While the UK this year reduced that period to three months, there's no changes on the cards for Kiwis.

New Zealand last changed its deferral periods for gay men from five years to 12 months in 2014 following a review by an expert panel.

"I think we would need to go through the same process again rather than just adopting what's happened overseas," Ms Cliffe told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday after questions from Labour MP Louisa Wall.

"Blood services do tend to follow each other in terms of international trends ... but at the moment we don't have the plan to do that but of course we're watching very carefully."

Board chairman David Chandler quoted the phrase "consistency is the refuge of fools" and said the board would want a proper process like in the past before making any changes.

- NZ Newswire

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