Australia’s blood supply should be as plentiful, safe and equitable as possible.
That is why we believe all blood donors should be assessed for their individual risk of HIV and other blood-borne diseases, and not for the gender of their sexual partner.
The current policy of requiring three months’ sexual abstinence before donations can be made by gay men, as well as bisexual men, trans women and some non-binary people who have sex with men, means there is a significant amount of safe blood currently not available for Australians in need ¹ .
The problem is not addressed by the policy of only allowing plasma donation from members of these groups, and not the donation of whole blood.
These policies also unnecessarily stigmatise those who are barred from whole-blood donation as a threat to public health.
Removing the antiquated deferrals and adopting individual risk assessment aligns with the latest medical science ².
That is why it has been adopted by a number of countries similar to Australia including Canada, the UK, France and Israel.
Given the critically low blood supply in Australia ³, we believe this reform will have beneficial impact and should be the subject of an immediate review by the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Service.
(1) Allowing safe donation by those currently required to abstain would mean 25,500 litres of safe blood each year for Australians in need see here for more information
(2) A range of studies are cited in Dr Sharon Dane’s report
HUMANITY IN NEED
LGBTIQ+ HEALTH AUSTRALIA
Humanity in Need - Rainbow Refugees supports Let Us Give in calling for Australia to change antiquated and discriminatory prohibition on blood donors when we have such low supply and are ignoring a large, safe section of the community willing to give.