Malta lifts restrictions against blood donation by gay men
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Gay men in Malta will no longer find the doors closed to them when they seek to donate blood. The policy change came after the acquisition of advanced blood testing equipment. This development was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health Chris Fearne. Thus, Malta has lifted the restrictions on sexually-active gay men which were in force since the 1980s in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela declared that these new and fairer protocols will eliminate discrimination against LGBTIQ+ persons. The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) said that the government’s decision is as another step forward and toward full equality while urged gay men to donate blood. The change in policy was announced as Malta is celebrating the Pride Week. This means that as from today anyone who has had the same sexual partner for more than 4 months can donate blood, irrespective of their gender or that of their partner. The National Blood Transfusion Service had enforced a lifetime ban on blood donations from men who had ever had sex with other men. Subsequently, a one-year deferral period was introduced: blood donations could be made by those who had not been sexually active for at least 12 months. Minister Fearne explained that the new equipment will analyse the blood thoroughly.
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