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Iceland May Let Gay Men Donate Blood—If They Remain Abstinent For 6 Months Beforehand

Iceland May Let Gay Men Donate Blood—If They Remain Abstinent For 6 Months Beforehand

Andie Fontaine
Words by
Photos by
Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Jeremy L. Grisham

Published October 4, 2018

Iceland’s Centre for Communicable Disease Control believes it is possible to let gay men donate blood again, provided they are required to abstain from sexual activity at least six months before donating, RÚV reports. Queer rights activists have long protested that Iceland’s current regulations about blood donations are outdated and discriminatory.

The Centre for Communicable Disease Control, in response to a formal request for information from the Ministry of Welfare, said that they believe other countries who have such a regulation in place have had good experiences with it. In addition to the mandatory six-month sexless waiting period, donated blood from gay men would also be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis.

Queer rights activists in Iceland have long contended that the current blood donation laws, which place an outright ban on gay men from donating blood, are outdated and discriminatory. This proposed regulation is arguably almost as discriminatory.

According to the Directorate of Health’s own statistics, incidences of HIV infection in Iceland are in almost entirely equal proportions between gay and straight people; 150 to 148, respectively. As such, this raises the question as to why gay men in particular must abide a six-month abstinence period, as opposed to all people regardless of sexual orientation.

Whether and when this new regulation will go into effect still remains to be seen.


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