Gay men excluded from donating blood in SA

January 16, 2006

CAPE TOWN — Sexually active gay men have been excluded by the South African National Blood Service from donating blood, according to reports from the Independent Online.

"A man who has had sex with another man within the past five years, whether oral or anal sex, with or without a condom or other form of protection, is not permitted to donate blood and must please not do so," SANBS spokesperson Lanthe Exall said on Thursday.

The SA National Blood Service said they based their position on international practice and data from international medical publications that men who have sex with men (MSM) showed increased risk of HIV transmission and other blood infections.

"Even though the Blood Services tests every blood donation for infectious diseases, which can be transmitted to patients by blood transfusion, no test available can detect every infectious blood donation," Exall said.

It was "imperative" for MSM group males to exclude invitations by SANBS to donate blood, she said, as it placed those who needed blood transfusions under immense risk of infection or disease.

"To donate blood endangers the lives of patients who need a blood transfusion as part of their medical treatment."

The ban on sexually active gay men has caused an outcry from gay and lesbian groups throughout South Africa. Several groups said they planned to picket at donation clinics Friday to protest against the policy. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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Statements by OUT and Cape Town Pride Festival regarding GLA and blood donation in SA



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