Berlin Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) wants to lift existing restrictions on homosexual men donating blood. This emerges from an amendment to the transfusion law that is available to the German Press Agency in Berlin and about which the editorial network Germany (RND) first reported.
“Sexual orientation and gender identity must not be exclusion or deferral criteria,” says the draft application. The change is intended to oblige the German Medical Association to change its relevant blood donation guidelines in a timely manner.
The chamber’s guidelines, which are still in force, provide for distinctions in order to minimize the “risk of transmission of serious infectious diseases that can be transmitted through blood”. For example, men who have sex with men are deferred from donating for four months after having sexual contact with a new or more than one sexual partner. In the case of sexual intercourse between women and men, on the other hand, only those who have “frequently changing partners” are deferred for four months.
Now “group-related exclusion or deferral criteria” should no longer be permissible, and sexual orientation should no longer be a deferral criterion. Sexual risk that leads to a deferral of the donation should only be determined on the basis of individual behavior.
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The German Aidshilfe, for example, had criticized that sexual contacts between men outside of a permanent monogamous relationship had led to an exclusion for four months. According to Aidshilfe, another version of the guideline was in effect before 2021, in which men who have sex with men were only allowed to donate blood if they had not had sex with a man for a year.
Lauterbach told the RND that there should be no hidden discrimination. “The German Medical Association must finally understand what has long been a consensus in society.” According to Aidshilfe, blood donations are tested for HIV and other infections before they are used. In addition, potential donors would also be asked about their “infection-relevant behavior”. So far, however, men who have sex with men have been excluded “far too generally”.
The SPD, Greens and FDP had already announced in their coalition agreement: “We will abolish the blood donation ban for men who have sex with men and for trans people, if necessary also by law.” The Lesbian and Gay Association in Germany (LSVD) welcomed the planned change as “long overdue”. The federal government’s queer commissioner, Sven Lehmann, also told the newspapers of the Funke media group: “The abolition of discrimination is long overdue and I am pleased that Karl Lauterbach is tackling it now.”
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