Behavior, not sexual orientation, to be leading in blood donation
From next year, blood bank Sanquin will look at individual risky behavior instead of sexual orientation when selecting blood and plasma donors, Minister Ernst Kuipers of Public Health said to parliament on Wednesday. Currently, sexually active gay and bisexual men can only donate blood if they've been in a monogamous relationship for more than a year or last had sex more than four months ago, NU.nl reports.
From January, Sanquin will ask donors to fill out a questionnaire to determine whether people run an increased risk of infectious diseases due to their behavior. For example, the questionnaire may ask whether you have changing sexual partners and, if so, whether you always use protection.
Kuipers called it good that the blood bank wants to implement this change. "I am pleased that individual risk behavior is leading the donor selection policy and not someone's orientation," he said.
Until 2015, sexually active gay and bisexual men could not donate blood at all in the Netherlands. Statistically, they are at higher risk of infectious diseases like HIV. Sanquin then changed the rules so that gay and bisexual men could donate blood if they had not had sex in the preceding four months. Last year it relaxed the rules a bit more, also allowing donations from sexually active gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships.