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Portugal lifts
ban on gay blood donors

Portugal lifts
ban on gay blood donors

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

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)

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