Australia’s Lifeblood Weighing Rule Change For Gay Plasma Donation

Australia’s Lifeblood Weighing Rule Change For Gay Plasma Donation
Image: Photo by Nguyễn Hiệp on Unsplash

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is reportedly considering changing rules around plasma donation inorder to allow gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men to donate plasma. The measure seen as an attempt to tackle the current blood shortage in Australia will not address the problem, say LGBTQI advocates who are calling the the ban on gay blood to be lifted. 

In Australia, gay and bisexual men have to be celibate for three months before they are allowed to donate blood. Lifeblood is considering removing the three-month wait period for plasma donations and doing away with the sexual history questions in its plasma donor screening, reported the North West Tasmanian Advocate

Australia Facing Low Blood Supplies

“Lifting the current ban on plasma donation by gay and bisexual men, and trans women and some non binary people who have sex with men, will not solve the problem of Australia’s dangerously low supplies of whole blood,” Thomas Buxereau, spokesperson for Let Us Give campaign said in a statement. 

The Let Us Give campaign urges Australia to follow the lead of countries like UK, France, Germany, Canada and others and lift the blanket ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood. The campaign has pushed for blood donors to be screened for their individual risk, irrespective of the gender of their partner. 

“If Australia adopts a new policy whereby all donors of whole blood are assessed for their individual risk regardless of the gender of their sexual partner, there will be an extra 25,000 litres of whole blood available to save the lives of Australians in need,” said Buxereau. 

Let Us Give

According to Let Us Give researcher, Dr Sharon Dane countries like Israel, Canada and France trialled relaxed rules for plasma donation for gay men, but dumped it in favour of removing the blanket ban on gay blood donation. 

“In the Israeli, Canadian and French trials, plasma from gay donors was quarantined and frozen for three to four months so the donor could return and be tested for HIV. For a variety of reasons, many donors could not return in that timeframe and their plasma had to be dumped,” said Dr Dane.

To add your signature to the Let Us Give campaign, visit the page. 


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One response to “Australia’s Lifeblood Weighing Rule Change For Gay Plasma Donation”

  1. As a cancer patient I need a platelet transfusion weekly and a blood transfusion every three weeks. I’m just one patient in probably tens of thousands needing blood products every day.
    As a gay man I am very despondent that Red Cross denies gay men the opportunity to help donate towards the 23,000 units of blood this country needs every day!
    Wake up Red Cross and help solve your own problem!