The Jerusalem Post

Health minister plans to remove all blood donation restrictio­ns from gay men – report


Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz plans on removing all blood donation restrictio­ns that prevent gay men from giving blood, Ynet reported on Monday.

Horowitz plans on removing a form question which asks “have you engaged in sexual relations between men?”

In addition, Horowitz plans on removing the mandatory one-year minimum period that homosexual men must complete without engaging in sexual relations before they are allowed to donate.

The plan came after talks Horowitz reportedly had with health experts, and will be finalized only after further discussion­s with medical profession­als.

While gay men usually see higher rates of infection from HIV and AIDS due to HIV’s higher transmissi­on rates through anal sex – a statistic which initially led the ban to go into effect in the early 1980s – their rates have been dropping consistent­ly over recent years.

This drop in cases is coupled with a drop in the disease’s severity. Due to improving medication­s, HIV was redefined in 2015 from being considered a fatal illness to being considered a treatable, chronic disease.

This is not the first time a question on the questionna­ire for blood donations has been called into question. In 2017, Ethiopian-Israelis were first allowed to donate blood, a move initiated by former health minister Yael German.

The 2017 decision was also the first time gay men were technicall­y allowed to donate blood at all, though the year-long celibacy period required for donation essentiall­y left the ban mostly in effect.

Gay men currently only have the option to donate plasma cells, but their red blood cells are thrown away without being tested for diseases.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Israel