Portugal lifts ban on gay blood donors

Portuguese health officials say better blood-screening methods make gay ban unnecessary.

BY admin

March 29 2006 12:00 AM ET

Portuguese health
officials on Saturday announced that because newer
blood-screening technologies have reduced the chances of
receiving HIV-infected blood products to nearly zero,
the nation’s ban on gay blood donors is no
longer needed and will be lifted, Agence France-Presse
reports. "The current trend is toward equality of criteria
for all regardless of their sexual orientation," Jose
de Almeida Goncalves, head of the National Blood
Institute, told the news agency.

Goncalves said
that the reasons behind dropping the ban on gay donors was
due both to better blood-screening methods and the fact that
heterosexuals in the country are now at a higher risk of
contracting HIV than gay men.

Canada announced
earlier this month that it is keeping its ban on gay
blood donors in place, but the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration announced that its blood safety
committee later this year will discuss dropping the
U.S. ban on gay blood donors. Currently, FDA rules state
that any man who has had sex even one time with another man
since 1977 is barred for life from donating blood.
(The Advocate)

Tags: Health

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