“…lifetime ban on gay men giving blood “may be justified” in certain cases”

Interesting news from Strasbourg’s European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice ruled that member states should establish if there were not more accurate detection techniques or “less onerous” ways of ensuring that recipients of donated blood were protected, rather than banning gay men for life from giving blood.

Ireland and a number of other countries maintain a lifetime ban. The law in the UK was changed in 2011 so that a one-year ban would be established instead.

The Government is considering whether or not to follow the example set by the UK and others and introduce a one-year ban instead of a lifetime ban.

  • A couple of relevant points from the RTÉ report

    In a statement this morning, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said: “Any decision will be guided by medical and scientific evidence and best international practice.

    “I do not see this as an equality issue.

    “We must always remember that the risk being taken is by those who receive blood, not those who donate it.”

    The ECJ was examining the case of a French man who, in April 2009, was refused to be allowed give blood to the local blood donation authorities in Strasbourg.

    The man – Geoffrey Léger – had argued that the refusal discriminated against him on the grounds of sexual orientation.

    French judicial authorities then sought guidance from the ECJ in Luxembourg that a lifetime ban in France on donations from men who had sex with other men was compatible with EU law on blood donations and with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

    In today’s ruling, the court effectively ruled that a lifetime ban “may be justified” but only in cases where it was clearly established that a person was, indeed, at high risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

  • The Gruffalo

    That seems to be based on science and rational thought. It will therefore be irrelevant to decision making in Northern Ireland

  • Dan

    Come on, we need populist decisions which pander to the politically correct crowd.

  • chrisjones2

    I prefer to rely on the Guidance of Moses on this topic

  • tmitch57

    The American Red Cross has always implemented a lifetime ban, mainly out of fear that some gay donors are lying about not having had sex and that the confidence of those receiving the blood is paramount.

  • chrisjones2

    My difficulty with that is in seeing HIV and other blood borne diseases as mainly a gay issue. It isn’t

  • Sergiogiorgio

    So Poots, Wells and all the other liberally minded folks in the DUP based their views on scientific and legal advice. Well who would have thought….

    Keep banging the drum Mick.

  • patrick23

    The prevalence is massively higher

  • Granni Trixie

    A few years ago I went to give blood for the first time, Sorry to say I was a scardy cat and had avoided doing so until someone I knew with cancer asked all friends to give blood.
    However after I filled in the medical history the blood people took me to one side asked if I wanted a cup of tea before telling me I was not suitable to give blood ((phew,what a relief). The reason they gave me was that I had written on the form that I had a condition (.fibromyalgia, a kind of chronic fatigue) and as no one knows what causes it it would be too risky to take my blood – even though nothing on
    Ontoward had turned up in the blood test they took.

    i was not in the least offended – it all sounded reasonable. However, I suppose if you were gay you would be offended if your blood was tunrned away because of prejudice or misinformation based on your sexuality. What is needed therefore is accurate information to gauge if there is any more risk with a gay persons blood than anyone else’s.