The Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) has relaxed the rules on gay men donating blood.
The Hospital Authority (HA) said on Thursday that men who have not had sex with other men for a year prior to the day of blood donation will be allowed to donate blood, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The new arrangement will take effect on Sept. 25.
The current policy requires prospective donors who declare having engaged in male-to-male sex in their health questionnaire to be “permanently deferred” from blood donation.
AIDS Concern praised the HA’s decision to remove the lifetime ban on men who have sex with men and change the ban to a period of one-year deferral.
It said the new rule is a step forward.
The group said it hopes the HA will consider reducing further the blood donation deferral limit for men who have homosexual sex by referring to the existing blood donation policies in other places.
Meanwhile, blood inventories have fallen to an alarming level, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Red Cross BTS said. He urged the public to support blood donation.
The service hours of four donor centers in Central, Kwun Tong, Sha Tin and Yuen Long will be extended from Friday to Sunday.
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