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Iceland could lift ban on gay men donating blood

Ella Braidwood September 3, 2018

Iceland could lift a blanket ban on gay and bisexual men giving blood. (GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)

Iceland’s Ministry of Health is reportedly considering changing the regulations that ban gay and bisexual men from giving blood.

The government department is expected to announce its decision on the issue in the coming weeks or months, reports Icelandic online newspaper Vísir.

Iceland currently has a blanket ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) donating blood.

Denmark recently announced that gay and bisexual men will be able to donate blood from 2019. (GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty)

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.

men holding hands
There is currently a blanket ban on men who have sex with men donating blood in Iceland. (BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty)

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.

More: blood, blood ban, denmark, donation, Europe, Iceland, Iceland

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