Mexico lifts ban on gay men donating blood

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A new law allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood has come into force today (Thursday).

Gay and bisexual men, who have a history of using condoms, who do not inject drugs, and are not sex workers can now donate.

The change was first approved in August and then published in the country’s regulatory Official Federation Diary on 26 October.

The old policy (NOM 003-SSA2) explicitly banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood based on their “practices” and their “increased probability of acquiring HIV or hepatitis infection”.

However, the new law (NOM 253) eliminates blanket bans on gay and bisexual men and instead bans blood donations from people with HIV or hepatitis and their partners and people who engage in “risky sexual practices” regardless of their sexual identity.

Mexico’s National Council to Prevent Discrimination welcomed the new rules.

“From now on, medical/scientific criteria will be used to identify pathogens in the blood and the focus will be turned to risky behaviors rather than social groups,” it said in a statement.

England, Wales and Scotland changed their blood laws in November 2011 and opted for a one year deferral, meaning gay and bisexual can donate providing they remain celibate for 12 months.

But LGBT campaigners have argued the change did not go far enough.

A blanket ban on gay men donating blood in Northern Ireland remains in place.