From Iceland — Gay Men & Others May Soon Be Allowed To Donate Blood

Gay Men & Others May Soon Be Allowed To Donate Blood

Published September 10, 2021

Desirai Thompson
Photo by
EC-JPR/Creative Commons

Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister of Health, has submitted a draft for an amendment to the Regulation on the Collection, Treatment, Preservation and Distribution of Blood. The current regulation allows for discrimination in blood donation based on sexual behaviour by instituting a lifetime ban on men who engage in sex with other men.

If the amendment is approved, a four-month rejection will instead be in place after the person has engaged in “risky sex”. Risky sex is defined in the amendment as “sex that significantly increases the risk of developing serious contagious blood-borne disease.”

Examples of this include sex where protection is not used and the parties are not in a stable, monogamous relationship; sex with many individuals with or without protection; and unprotected sex with people who use intravenous drugs.

Iceland has long been urged to end its ban on allowing homosexual men, and other men who have or have had sex with other men, donating blood—one of the only countries in Europe with such a strict prohibition. If the amendment to the regulation is approved, Art. 1 will read that blood donations may not be discriminated against on the basis of unreasonable considerations, such as gender, sexual orientation, origin or other status. The provision would take effect on January 1, 2022, reports Vísir.

With elections just over two weeks away, it is yet to be seen what other injustices politicians will conveniently begin to take a stand against in the lead up to polls opening.

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