Why it took so long to loosen requirements for gay men to donate blood

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Dec 2020, 2:59PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Why it took so long to loosen requirements for gay men to donate blood

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Dec 2020, 2:59PM

Gay and bisexual men no longer have to abstain from sex for a year to be allowed to donate blood.

The Blood Service will now accept blood from cis-gender men who sleep with men, if they've been celibate three months.

They also mustn't have taken drugs that reduce the risk of HIV transmission, such as PrEP, for the same period.

The UK made the change in 2017, and Canada did it last year.

Transfusion medicine specialist Dr Peter Flanagan says more data was needed here before making the same move.

"It then takes them time to be able to pull all the information together to make a submission to the New Zealand medicine regulator, and then to undertake the necessary training and updating of our systems to make sure that we can do it safely."

He says New Zealand has a track record of safe donations.

Dr Flanagan says there's no evidence of non-compliance after previous changes to the abstention period.

"Perhaps suggesting that if people are confident that the the deferral is science based, they will abide."

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