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Revisions allow lesbians to donate blood

By Shan Juan (Xinhua)

14:47, July 10, 2012

Chinese lesbians are being allowed to donate blood under revisions made to a regulation requiring that potential blood donors undergo health checks.

The revisions took effect on July 1. Although allowing lesbians to give blood, gay men are still banned from doing so.

The Ministry of Health explained that the prevalence of HIV is still high among those in that group.

Ministry statistics showed about 3 percent of Chinese men who have sexual intercourse with other men are HIV positive, a proportion far higher than the average for the entire population, which stands at about 0.057 percent.

Before the revisions, the regulation, issued in 2001, prohibited all homosexuals from giving blood.

Groups that advocate for lesbian rights said that the rule was unfair for lesbians and resulted from ignorance.

In 2009, at least 540 lesbians on the mainland signed an online petition asking health authorities to remove the discriminatory ban.

Zhang Beichuan, one of China's leading scholars on gay and lesbian issues, said on Monday he welcomed the latest change to the rule.

But he said very few lesbians who gave blood in the past had revealed their sexuality while filling in health declaration forms.

As for the remaining donation ban on gay men, Zhang said it was quite understandable and in line with international practices.

He conceded that gay men might not tell the truth while filling in the forms either and that impedes work to keep the blood supply safe.


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