Irish youth oppose gay blood donor ban

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

An influential Irish youth organisation is calling on the country’s blood service to reverse its policy excluding male gay donors.

The Yong Fine Gael conference in Co. Tipperary, Ireland, passed a motion opposing the Irish Blood Transfusion Service’s stance on banning sexually active homosexual men from donating blood.

Group president Patrick O’Driscoll raised the question of why monogamous gay couples in long-term stable relationships were barred from donating blood, while heterosexuals who engaged in unsafe sex were not subject to the same lifetime ban.

He told the Irish Times, “There was a need for the ban 20 years ago, because of the Aids epidemic. Nowadays, the gay community is probably more sexually aware of health issues than the straight community.”

However, a member against the motion, Stephen Spillane said: “It specified that it was about sexually active homosexual men. This omitted bisexual men and others. The ban has not been lifted totally in any part of the world. It has been relaxed in some places.”

“The fact is that homosexual men engaging in sexual activities are the highest risk from HIV transmission, the ban is a good idea, but I accept that a lifetime ban is wrong.”