The Danish government is considering abolishing a rule that prevents men from donating blood if they have had sex with another man within the last four months
The rule, which has been criticized for its discriminatory effect on gay men, has existed since 2020. Previously, it was forbidden for men of the same sex to donate blood at all – a policy implemented in 1988 when AIDS The epidemic was at its height.
By effectively excluding gay men in relation to donating blood, the rule limits the available donor pool without any benefit to blood safety, says Chris Amdisen, doctor and gay man behind a citizen proposal to change the rule.
“I think the rules are discriminatory as they are today. They no longer make sense. My risk for these diseases as a gay man in a stable relationship is not higher than for many others, “said Amdisen to DR.
More donors, less anemia
Denmark has previously had a shortage of male blood donors. In addition to the restrictions that gay men face, all blood donors must be able to read and speak Danish to ensure that there are no misunderstandings between donors and blood collection staff.
In addition, foreigners who speak Danish must have lived in Denmark for a minimum of one year and be in possession of a Danish civil registration number.
Politicians and experts have joined Amdisen, saying a lifting of restrictions on gay men could be a way to reduce the likelihood of shortages without compromising patient well-being. In fact, the Department of Patient Safety, the Department of Patient Safety, said in a written statement this week, “that it will probably be possible to relax the current rules.”
The board asked the Danish Society for Clinical Immunology, the Danish Society for Clinical Immunology, “for a professional assessment of any risks.”
The risk of HIV infection is “extremely small”
According to DR, the Danish Society for Clinical Immunology has now completed its assessment and passed on its recommendation to the government that the rule be changed.
Christian Erikstrup is chief physician at Aarhus University and sits on the board of the Danish Society for Clinical Immunology. He cites declining HIV numbers and modern testing options to support the decision.
From 2008 to 2017, for example, there were an average of 122 new HIV cases among men, but that number had dropped to 58 new cases by 2021. In addition, current HIV tests are almost 100 percent accurate.
According to Erikstrup, the risk of a recipient of donor blood being infected with HIV from a gay man will be “extremely small”.
Denmark in the middle of the herd
Denmark would not be the first European country to revise its rules for gay men who donate blood. Last year, Germany removed a policy that obliges gay and bisexual men to abstain from sex for a year before donating blood. In March this year, France removed a similar policy that required a four-month suspension period.
Nevertheless, a majority of European Member States have maintained some form of restriction on the donation of blood by homosexual men.
For Chris Amdisen, the man whose petition has now garnered over 8.00 signatures in Denmark, the change that may soon be on the way in Denmark is an important victory.
“It makes me really happy, because it means that they have listened to my proposal and taken it seriously,” Amdisen told DR. “There is hope that the outdated rules will be changed. I hope we can become a progressive country in this area. “
Source: The Nordic Page