Iceland could lift ban on gay men donating blood
Iceland’s Ministry of Health is reportedly considering changing the regulations that ban gay and bisexual men from giving blood.
Iceland currently has a blanket ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) donating blood.
The country’s review of the ban comes after Denmark announced that gay and bisexual men who have not had sex with another man for four months will be able to donate blood from 2019.
At present, there is a blanket ban on men who have sex with men donating blood in Denmark.
Meanwhile, in the UK, men who have sex with men are required to abstain from oral and anal sex with other men for three months in order to give blood, after the government relaxed regulations last year.
Previously, gay and bisexual men in Britain had to refrain from having gay sex for 12 months in order to give blood.
Many countries across the worldwide still require gay, bisexual and transgender men to be celibate for a certain period of time—in the US and Canada this is 12 months—before they can give blood.
Some of these bans are in place because previous research has found that gay and bisexual men are the demographic with the highest number of new HIV infections.
However, scientific advances and better medical screening processes have meant that some nations have been able to relax the deferral period for gay and bisexual men donating blood.
In June, LGBT+ activists launched an initiative aimed at raising awareness of discriminatory blood donating policies in Canada, Brazil, Australia, Germany and the US.
A study by UCLA Williams Institute study in 2014 found that lifting the time limit on gay and bi men donating blood in the US could save up to a million lives annually.