Senator Fiona O’Loughlin welcomes changes to blood donation criteria for gay and bisexual men

Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has welcomed the moves to reduce the blood donation criteria for gay and bisexual men which take effect today. These changes allow gay and bisexual men who have sex with men to donate at an earlier stage.

Senator O’Loughlin said “I have been campaigning for equality in terms of blood donation criteria for gay and bisexual men for some time, and had been pressuring the HSE and the Department of Health to establish an independent advisory committee to review the evidence base for deferral and exclusion around blood donation, and this was established towards the end of 2021.”

“I was pleased that this board reviewed the deferral period and that in conjunction with my colleague Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly further changes were recommended, the first of which comes into effect today.”

“The deferral period for men who have sex with men has been reduced to 4 months from today. The previous deferral period was 12 months. This is an interim measure and will ultimately be replaced by an individual risk assessment model later this year.”

Fiona concluded by saying “A person’s sexual orientation should not be a factor in their ability to give blood, in my opinion. Each individual donor should be assessed for their individual risk, regardless of their sexual orientation.”