Zoetermeers Dagblad | Blood donation rules further adjusted: behavior becomes decisive

Blood and plasma donation is made possible for men who have varying sexual contacts with other men. From now on, behavior is leading. Blood bank Sanquin will base its decision on whether or not someone can become a donor from January next year on a questionnaire about someone’s behaviour, Minister Ernst Kuipers (Public Health) informed the House of Representatives.

Until 2015, sexually active gay and bisexual men were not allowed to donate blood at all. This was because they are statistically at a higher risk of infectious diseases such as HIV, the sexually transmitted virus that causes AIDS. The exclusion was experienced by many men as discriminatory.

Subsequently, the rule became that blood donation was only allowed if the donor had not had sex in the four months before. After research, the rules were only really relaxed last year. Blood and plasma donation became possible for men who have a “lasting monogamous relationship” with other men. That is, they have been together for more than a year. Even those who had not had sex for four months could continue to donate.

Individual risk behavior

The additional questionnaire should soon make it clear whether people who want to donate blood run an increased risk due to their behaviour. An important question can then be, for example, whether someone who has changing bed partners always uses a condom.

Kuipers thinks it is a good thing that the blood bank wants to implement this change. “I am pleased that individual risk behavior is leading the donor selection policy and not someone’s orientation.”

By: ANP | Photo: ANP

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