Gay people may be given the all clear to donate blood

Newsroom 22/01/2008 | 15:40

If the draft law from the Ministry of Public Health is approved, two questions regarding the sexual orientation of the donor will be removed from the blood donor's questionnaire. The two questions, “Have you had sexual relations with another man?” (to men) and “Has your partner had sexual relations with another man?” (to women), provoked a public outcry last summer when a change of Order nr. 1193/2007 totally excluded gay people from donating blood. This change was analyzed by the National Anti-Discrimination Council, which ruled that the questions were discriminatory.
However, the mooted law change has been met with criticism by the president of the Foundation of Voluntary Blood Donors in Romania, Aimee Bugner, who said that Romania was the only country in Europe that would remove these questions. “All the questionnaires in other countries – France, America, Norway – they all contain this question of whether the potential donor has had homosexual relations. In France, for instance, even women who admit to having had a relationship with a bisexual man are excluded from donating blood,” Bugner said. She added that in the United States the rules were even stricter: if an individual has had homosexual contact just one time, they are prevented from donating blood. “Why? Because the groups where they hang out are very small. If one of them is contaminated with HIV, chances are the others will be as well. We have an obligation to the patients,” said Bugnar. “Everything that happens now does so because we are dealing with very aggressive people. I don't think homosexuals are craving to donate blood,” she added.

Otilia Haraga

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