Germany will end discrimination against queer blood donors, Lauterbach announces
Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has announced that the country will lift blood-donation restrictions on gay or bisexual men and transwomen who have sex with men, ending the discriminatory practice in Germany's healthcare system.
Germany to lift ban on queer blood donors
Karl Lauterbach has announced that Germany’s blood-donation ban on gay or bisexual men and transwomen who have sex with men will be revoked on April 1, 2023. Lauterbach stipulated that risk assessments of all potential donors will be carried out indiscriminately, regardless of the donors’ sexuality or gender identity.
“We have far too few blood donors. Blood is scarce and it saves lives,” Lauterbach said, speaking to RND. “There must be no hidden discrimination on this issue,” the minister and medical doctor emphasised.
As it stands, men and transwomen who have sex with men cannot donate blood unless they have had no new sexual partners or no more than one sexual partner over a four-month period. For heterosexual men, the restriction only applies if they have had “regularly changing partners”.
Germany’s discriminatory blood-donation restrictions were brought during the early-1980s when the HIV / AIDS epidemic was still in its infancy. At the time, there was little medical understanding of HIV / AIDS, which spreads through the exchange of bodily fluids. The discriminatory restrictions were intended to limit the spread of the virus.
LGBTQ+ bodies celebrate removal of blood donation restrictions
Many people in Germany celebrated the change to the German Medical Associations’ blood donation regulations.
Green Party politician and LGBTQ+ activist Sven Lehmann hailed the move as a further step towards equality in Germany. “The blood-donation discrimination against homosexual, bisexual men and trans people alike, has finally ended. The German Medical Association had long enough. Now the law is coming,” Lehmann wrote on Twitter.
The Lesbian and Gay Federation of Germany also called the change “long overdue”, adding that a promise to Germany’s queer community was finally being fulfilled.
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