Australia’s blood donation service has revealed it will ease restrictions on blood donors from early next year.

This comes after an advocate accused Lifeblood of a double standard after it lifted the ban on blood plasma donors with tattoos without any sign of lifting its ban on gay, bisexual and trans donors.

Recently, it was announced the four month period between obtaining a tattoo and giving blood plasma would be abolished.

In April, Australia’s blood authorities announced the 12 month celibacy period would be reduced to three months but six months later this still has not occurred.

Spokesperson for national LGBTQI equality organisation, just.equal, Rodney Croome said he welcomes the decision to allow blood plasma donation by tattoo recipients as it was based on research.

“Similar scientific research from the around the world has shown that replacing the current gay, bisexual and transgender ban with individual risk assessment would lower disease risk and increase the supply of safe blood, yet, Lifeblood is impervious to this science,” he said.

“It is a double standard for Lifeblood to allow donations from tattoo recipients but not LGBTQI people, and it is a double-standard for them to heed science in one instance and ignore it in the other.

“The only explanation for this double standard is that Lifeblood is acting out of prejudice, or in fear of other people’s prejudice, neither of which is an acceptable basis for public health policy.”

 A spokesperson for Lifeblood said the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the proposal to lower that celibacy period to three months in April.

“We sought approval from federal and state and territory governments, who govern and fund Lifeblood’s activities,” they said.

“We were granted this approval very recently. Now we are updating our donor questionnaire form, and internal updates.

“The DQF form is legislated/governed by state and territory governments and we are undergoing processes with them to have it approved.”

Lifeblood are predicting the new rules will come into effect by early 2021. The spokesperson said they empathise with those who can’t give blood.

“We’d like as many Australians as possible to donate blood,” they said. “The three month deferral period is our next step forward, based on current evidence.”

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