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Updated 22 May 2014

Gay men may now also donate blood in SA

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has implemented a new policy on blood donations which no longer discriminates against sexually-active gay men.

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Previously, men who had sex with men were seen as having a higher risk of being infected with HIV/Aids and were only allowed to donate blood if they were celibate for six months or longer, according to Mambaonline.

However, this 2006 policy was widely criticised as being discriminatory, especially as heterosexual people who engaged in risky or casual sex were allowed to donate blood. The HIV/Aids rate in South Africa is higher among heterosexuals.

The new policy on blood donations favours people in monogamous relationships, regardless of their sexuality. Mambaonline described this as "a victory for fairness and equality".

According to the SANBS, anybody who has a new sexual partner will not be allowed to donate blood for six months, and anyone who has multiple sexual partners will not be allowed to donate blood – regardless of their sexuality.

The Cape Times reported on Thursday that this new criteria has come into effect through the department of health.

The SANBS said that since 2005 there have been no reported cases of HIV being transferred through blood transfusions.

June is Blood Donor Month, and 14 June is World Blood Donor Day.

Want to donate blood? 
Check out the SANBS map to find a blood donor centre near you. 

Read more:

Blood donation – what our users say
Top excuses for not donating blood 
Exactly why should you donate blood

Image: man donating blood, Shutterstock
 
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