Blood donation in France will be open in mid-March to homosexuals without conditions, the government having announced Tuesday the abandonment of any reference to sexual orientation in the donation criteria to put an end to “discrimination”. Before France, many countries, such as Spain, Italy, Israel and recently England, have already made changes in their access to blood donation in this direction.
In the continuation of the bioethics law and of a “political will” of the Minister of Health, a decree will be signed on Tuesday which will make blood donation accessible to all on the basis of the same criteria, for homosexuals as for heterosexuals, the ministry said.
From March 16, there will be “no more reference to sexual orientation” in questionnaires prior to blood donation, explained Jérôme Salomon, Director General of Health, during a press briefing.
In Switzerland, a period of twelve months
Since July 2016, homosexual men can theoretically donate blood, a gesture that had been prohibited for them since 1983 due to the risk of transmission of AIDS. But this possibility remained until now subject to a period of sexual abstinence (first set at one year, before being reduced in 2019 to four months) which had to be declared during the preliminary interview.
The Director General of Health said he did not expect an increase in the residual risk of transmission of HIV by transfusion as a result of this measure, recalling that “this level of risk has been falling steadily for decades”.
In Switzerland, blood donation has also been authorized for homosexuals since 2017, but with a period of abstinence of twelve months, including within the couple. In March 2021, the Neuchâtel national councilor Damien Cottier filed an interpellation supported by around twenty signatures in Bern to remedy the situation. The Federal Council responded at the beginning of June and declared itself “in favor of a review of the criteria also taking place in Switzerland”.