The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has just announced that men who have sex with other men are now allowed to give blood – so long as the last time they had sexual contact was 12 months or more ago.
While it may not sound like much, it is a big step forwards from the previous policy where it was a lifetime ban.
In addition to this, the IBTS have also implemented stricter rules for donors who have been diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases. Those donors will have to wait five years after finishing treatment for the disease(s) before being allowed to give blood.
Health Minister Simon Harris says “the IBTS will continue to keep all deferral policies under active review in the light of scientific evidence, emerging infections and international experience”. The altering of this legislation brings Ireland into similar rules governing donating blood in other developed countries.