Gay men in monogamous relationships can now donate blood in NL
From today, September 1, gay men with one, stable partner can donate blood in the Netherlands. Before today, gay men could only donate blood if they hadn't had sex in four months, and before 2019 if they hadn't had sex in a year, because they are at higher risk of blood-borne infections.
Freek de Jager of COC Twente-Achterhoek is pleased that blood bank Sanquin took this step towards no longer discriminating against gay men, he said to RTV Oost. But more needs to be done. "As a straight man you can do what you want and your sexual behavior is not checked anywhere, as a gay man it is. That must disappear, but this is a good first step."
Merlijn van Hasselt of Sanquin agreed that it seems strange that gay men are approached differently than straight men, but wouldn't call it discrimination, he said to the broadcaster. "Research shows that men who have sex with other men, so they do not necessarily have to be gay, have a greater risk of infections. We check for risky behavior, which can be sexual, but also whether someone has been traveling. It is also a bit more nuanced, we don't ask about sexuality, but whether he has had sex with another man," he said. "For us, safety is paramount, so the blood must be safe."