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Ban on gay blood givers unnecessary

By Du Liya (Global Times)

08:18, July 11, 2012

Many people are upset that men who have had sex with men are still banned from donating blood in China according to the newly-revised blood donation regulation posted on the Ministry of Health's website.

The ban on homosexual blood donors, enacted in 1998, has been lifted on lesbians effective this month.

"Although gays are more exposed to HIV/AIDS than other groups, the ban is discriminatory," said Li Dun, a Tsinghua University professor and an expert from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS.

According to the Chinese HIV/AIDS Evaluation Report in 2011 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, homosexuals account for 17.4 percent of new HIV/AIDS cases in 2010 and, over half were gay men.

"This is stripping us of the right to donate blood. There will be no problem if our health check is OK," a 25-year-old gay Beijinger, surnamed Wu, told the Global Times.

Another gay, surnamed Xi, 27, said the ban amounts to legalized discrimination that is no longer required.

"There is a check of each donation, including checks on many infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS and the results are released in about one minute," Li Xingwang, director with the department of infectious disease in Beijing Ditan Hospital, told the Global Times.

"There's no need to exclude gay people, as long as the sample testing is well done," Li said.

"Personally, I think the testing to some extent helps secure the quality of blood source," said Jiang Hui, director of the Beijing-based Aibai Culture and Education Center, a gay and lesbian rights NGO.

"If the ban is lifted, the public will panic, as people still lack knowledge of HIV/AIDS," Jiang told the Global Times.

The US has also prohibited men who have had sex with other men from donating since 1977.

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