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Traditional course remains - homo - and bisexual people are still not allowed to donate blood

A verbal slap in the face of many affected people: in 2021 it will again be more difficult for people to donate blood because of their sexual orientation. In the past, we have already reported that there is always a discussion about the extent to which gays and bisexuals should be allowed to donate blood.

The decision on a suitable reform is now postponed until next year. On 27 January 2021, they will meet again to re-evaluate the relevant criteria, if necessary. At a time when there is always talk of a "lack of blood reserves" - unimaginable for many.

Currently (and also in the near future), homosexual men have to spend one year in the "Celibacy" live in order to be allowed to donate blood. Even though the public health system - due to Corona - is certainly understandably focusing on fighting the virus, the important aspects surrounding the blood donation ban should not be forgotten.

According to Health Minister Jens Spahn, safety is the top priority here. However, it is still the case that a person's sexual orientation should not be classified as risky behaviour. The current regulation, however, stands for exactly the opposite. Because: on its basis, homosexual men are attributed a higher risk of carrying the HI virus.

Blood donor shortage vs. outdated regulation?

It seems abstruse: in the meantime - partly due to the Corona crisis and people's unwillingness to donate blood - blood reserves are becoming increasingly scarce and every donation should actually be worth its weight in gold.

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The fact that the decision on whether there should be "improvements" in this area has been postponed again and again in the past. This is precisely what upsets not only the Scenebut also many responsible people.

They believe that men who are not allowed to donate blood because of their sexual orientation are not only discriminated against but also stigmatised. They are attributed - more or less directly - a disease that they may (or at least very likely) not have.

Rather, it would certainly make sense to shed light on the basic risk behaviour of the individual person - even if he or she is heterosexual, for example. However, there are no corresponding regulations. Anyone who is heterosexual in Germany can donate blood in a comparatively uncomplicated way.

Role model abroad? - What is the status in other countries?

While Germany has not yet managed to get rid of its blood donation ban, other countries are already a step further.

Spain, for example, has decided to make "blood donation permission" dependent on the aforementioned individual risk behaviour - regardless of whether homosexual or heterosexual.

France takes a middle course here. Homosexual or bisexual do not have to wait 12 months here, but "only" four months until they are allowed to donate after sex. But let's be honest: who would voluntarily live abstinent for four (or even 12) months only to then "graciously" be allowed to donate blood. It is certainly understandable and absolutely human that at some point defiance sets in according to the motto "All right, then don't do it!

Why is a blood donation ban discriminatory?

Discrimination in connection with an existing blood donation ban for bi- and homosexual people shows itself on various levels. Above all, the desperation of those responsible on the one hand to not have enough blood reserves and the categorical "No!" to homosexual people who would like to donate is confusing.

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In addition, a look at the statistics shows that at the end of 2018, approximately 88,000 homosexual and heterosexual people were living with HIV in Germany. To assume here that the disease can only affect gays is not only unscientific, but also naïve.

A closer look at the individual risk of each person willing to donate would certainly help here. However, it would certainly be a step in the right direction to shorten the waiting period for homosexual donors in order to send a positive signal.

 

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