Ban on Gay Blood Donors Lifted in France
The French government ended the ban on blood donations by gay men.
Marisol Touraine, French Minister of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights, claimed that, “[d]onating blood is an act of generosity, citizenship, which cannot be conditioned to sexual orientation. … Today we allow every citizen, regardless of sexual orientation, the right to give blood. Thus we are marking a new step in the fight against all forms of discrimination, especially sexual.”
Initially, the ban was put into order to prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV, but had long been criticized as discriminatory. The process of integrating of gay men into the blood donation regime will happen in a two-phase process. Phase 1, which will occur in Spring 2016, will allow blood donations by men who have not had intimate relations with other men in the past four months or who have had only one sexual partner. Phase 2, which will occur over the next 12 months, will include research by health officials on the safety of the blood. If there are no health risks uncovered, gay men will be allowed to give blood while following the general policies set for all other potential donors.