Irish Blood Transfusion Service to end ban against gay and bisexual men

The IBTS introduced the rule in the 1980s as a reaction to the AIDS crisis

IBTS, Irish Blood Transfusion Service, Blood, Ban, Gay, Bisexual, MSM, Men who have sex with men

[Flickr/Bryan Jones]

After introducing a blanket ban against men who have sex with men donating blood in the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service has finally changed its stance. By the end of 2016, it is expected that that new rules affecting this group of donors will be brought into place.

The IBTS board met yesterday to vote on whether it should recommend to the Health Minister that the ban be overturned. The board will now formally recommend to Simon Harris TD that blood can be donated by men who have not had sex with another man for a period of 12 months.

The IBTS made its decision after board members took into consideration that advancement in HIV screening and moves made by other developed nations to widen the donor pool.

In 2011, England, Scotland, and Wales changed their regulations concerning gay and bisexual sexually-active men, while the ban on this group in Northern Ireland will be lifted in September of this year.

The news comes on the 23rd anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland, and on the eve of the largest gay pride festivities in the country.

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