The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby is pleased by news that the NSW government is set to ease restrictions preventing men who have had sex with men from donating blood. This follows the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) acceptance of Lifeblood’s submission to lower the blood donation deferral period for men who have had sex with men to three months, originally set at 12 months.
The Lobby has joined calls for the NSW Government to act swiftly to implement the decision of the TGA and work with the federal, state and territory governments to see this change come into effect as soon as possible given the current health crisis.
NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby Convenor, Jack Whitney stated “During the current public health crisis, it is especially critical that Australians continue to donate blood. Now that the NSW Government has indicated it will move ahead, it should act swiftly to implement the decision of the TGA and lower the deferral period for men who have had sex with men.”
Advocates have long called for restrictions on the donation of blood from men who have sex with men to be eased. For men that are sexually active however this round of changes will likely make little difference.
The Lobby encourages the ongoing review of evidence by authorities to work towards a future where all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are able to donate blood.
NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby Convenor, Jack Whitney stated “We encourage all relevant authorities to continue to review evidence and work towards a future where all people are able to donate blood.”
We also note the concerns raised by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations regarding the exclusion of PrEP users and ask that these questions being promptly addressed by Lifeblood, TGA and government.
NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby Convenor, Jack Whitney stated “Overall, this is good news. However, it is not good enough and there are areas for improvement. We want to see all individuals whose sexual activity is safe, and meet the other requirements, to be able to donate regardless of time period. Three months will mean very little to too many in the community. The lobby recommends removing the existing deferral period altogether. There should be routine unsafe sex screening for all people and all sexual preferences. The risk of passing on infections through blood donation is created by unsafe sex – not because of individual markers of sexual preference and gender.”
For further contact Jack Whitney 0411387913 or firstname.lastname@example.org