French Government study recommends lifting of blanket gay blood ban

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The ban on the donation of blood by men who have sex with men (MSM) in France should be lifted, according to a new government study.

France’s ban was introduced in 1984 at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

During the 1980s approximately 4,000 people in the country were given HIV contaminated blood – many of whom died.

But yesterday’s report, commissioned by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, argues that prohibiting gay donors is now unnecessary because all donated blood is effectively screened for HIV.

“Homosexuals should be able to donate blood,” said Olivier Véran, a Socialist MP and doctor who compiled the report.

It will now be considered by the government.

In June, the American Medical Association (AMA) urged for the US to reject its federal blanket ban preventing gay men from donating blood.

The ban by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was introduced in 1983.

The AMA recommended that the FDA change its policy so that gay men are evaluated on an individual level rather than being lumped together in a high-risk category, in addition to crafting a policy that more accurately represents scientific research.

In 2011, England, Wales and Scotland introduced a one-year deferral for gay and bisexual men who wish to donate blood.

They can donate – providing they refrain from having sex with men for 12 months.

The one-year deferral was chosen in part because of Hepatitis B, which disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men.

While there is a four-week window between transmission and detection of HIV, Hepatitis B can take up to a year to be cleared by the body.

In South Africa, where HIV is prevalent, there is six-month deferral. In Australia, Sweden and Japan it is a year for MSM who wish to give blood.