End the discriminatory blood donation policy for queer men in Australia.
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The Therapeutic Goods Administration’s blood service policy is homophobic.
Currently, there is a 12-month deferral period for men who have had sex with men forbidding them from donating blood, a policy justified by the ‘window period’ where HIV and other STIs can’t be traced through testing. In essence, any man who has had sex with another man in the last year (regardless of individual circumstances) has lost the right to donate blood within Australia. This one year deferral period directly contradicts the policies of organisations such as the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, who have a ‘window period’ of six to twelve weeks. Put simply, within 3 months it is possible to determine whether someone has contracted an STI such as HIV through standard medical procedure, a fact which makes the current 12-month deferral period discriminatory and outdated.
We are a group of young, queer Australians campaigning for a shortening of the deferral period to a more reasonable three months, or alternatively, for eligibility to be determined by individual risk assessment. The Australian Red Cross state that ‘the underlying principle on which people give blood has to be one of mutual trust.’ This trust must be extended to the hundreds of thousands of queer persons it excludes from donating blood.
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