Date
28 June 2017
Members of the Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong protest on stage at a Hong Kong Red Cross function. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/scmhkorg/
Members of the Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong protest on stage at a Hong Kong Red Cross function. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/scmhkorg/

Hong Kong Red Cross may lift ban on gays donating blood

The Hong Kong Red Cross is considering allowing homosexual men to donate blood.

The charity is studying whether to lift the restriction on gay people giving blood on the condition that the donor must not have had sex with other men in the preceding 12 months, Ming Pao Daily reports.

It said the top priority is to make sure the donated blood is safe for recipients.

This follows a petition by the Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong (SCMHK) which claimed that the current ban smears and discriminate against gay people.

The group said homosexual men should be allowed to donate blood as long as they have had no sex with other men in the previous three months.

Ko Chung-lai, deputy chairman of SCMHK, said the safety of blood should be based on whether donors practice safe sex rather than on their sexual orientation. 

Blood donors expressed mixed views on the SCMHK’s suggestion but said the top priority is the safety of donated blood, according to news website hk01.com.

HKRC chairman Ho Pui-him said a study will be conducted. 

Dr. Lee Cheuk-kwong, chief executive and medical director of the HKRC Blood Transfusion Service, said he is aware that some countries and regions have been discussing whether to continue tha ban on gay people from donating blood.

Lee said HKRC will keep track of scientific data to decide whether to change the current guidelines as well as discuss the issue with various stakeholders, including patient groups. He did not give any timeline.

In April, the HKRC Blood Transfusion Service revealed that a new technology has shortened the period for the HIV antibody to be detected to only six days.

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TL/AC/RA

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