TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Gay men in Taiwan will be permitted to donate blood under new rules set to be implemented in May by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW).
According to the MOHW, the Blood Consultative Committee recommend lifting the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men, replacing it with a policy barring donations from men who have had sex with another man within five years of the planned donation.
According to the current “blood donor deferral policy,” gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, as groups at high-risk of being HIV or AIDS positive, as well as those who have a record of a malignant tumors, or those with leukemia, are banned from donating blood for life.
Taiwanese netizens launched an online campaign demanding the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men be lifted, indicating that the policy is no longer justified, given advances in HIV testing. They emphasize that the blood screening process is adequate enough now to prevent unsafe blood from being donated, so the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men should be lifted.
An official of MOHW said during an interview on Monday that the new policy of barring donations from men who have had homosexual intercourse within five years, is planned to be gradually reduced from five years to one year.
The amendment is now in the process of judicial review and is expected to be approved and come into effect in May, at the soonest.