The Australian Red Cross Blood Service says it will review its policy banning gay men from donating blood if they’ve been sexually active in the past 12 months.
The restriction was recently challenged in the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal with the  Tribunal last year ruling in favour of allowing the Red Cross to uphold its ban.
Launceston man Michael Cain — who launched the Tribunal challenge — said he was “very pleased” with the  announcement, however, he stressed the review needs to be thorough and open.
“I’m very pleased the Red Cross is now taking this position seriously enough to conduct a review,” he said.
“But the review must take into consideration all of the available evidence, and it must be conducted in a transparent fashion.”
Red Cross Blood Service spokesman Nick McGowan told AAP the Red Cross Blood Service would cast a “wide net” to gather all views and use both local and international scientific evidence.
The Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal ruled last year the Red Cross Blood Service’s refusal to allow Cain to give blood as a gay man was not discrimination and the service was bound by law to ensure the risk of unsafe blood is as low as possible.
The Tribunal ruled the Red Cross’ policy was “reasonable” and Cain’s proposal to allow low-risk men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) to donate not reliable given evidence before the Tribunal it would increase the risk of HIV transmission.
Opponents of the ban said studies used did not adequately take into account the low HIV risk of gay men in monogamous relationships.
In its final verdict the Tribunal also said the current policy amounts to “disadvantage that is real, a matter of substance and not trivial”.
McGowan told AAP it was now an “opportune” time to review the policy, which will start in the next 12 months.

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