The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has recently approved an application by Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (Lifeblood), which proposes to reduce the deferral period for donors of whole blood from 12 months to three months since their last sexual contact for men who have had sex with men. Following that, there has been a regulatory decision to accept the proposal of Lifeblood, (the Red Cross) to reduce that deferral period.
Tammy Franks MLC will tomorrow bring to a vote her motion for SA to remove the deferral period for men who have had sex with another man to donate whole blood. Currently, men are excluded from giving blood within 12 months of having had sex with another man.
Quotes attributable to Tammy Franks Greens MLC:
“We know that blood does not have a long shelf life and that we always need blood and blood donors. To continue to discriminate against groups, such as men who have had sex with men in the last 12 months, is not only stigmatising, it is not best health practice. Our approach should be based on the science and not on the outmoded stigma and predjudice.
“I know that the Red Cross have not been the ones who have held this particular position, they are the ones at the coalface seeking the donations from the very people of whom they have to ask these needless and stigmatising questions.
“I call on the SA Government to endorse this TGA recommendation and finalize the implementation process. I understand that this change is long overdue, and as such is not a contentious issue, and would not have been delayed were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting the process of change.
“One in three Australians will need blood or blood products in their lifetime and that one blood donation can save up to three lives, yet we continue to deny willing donors because of a stigma, not science. It has to change and the Government can change this now.”