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Lesbians in China allowed to give blood

07-25-2012 09:44 BJT

● China’s Ministry of Health says lesbians, will now be allowed to give blood again, for the first time in 14 years.

● New regulation to eliminate discrimination towards LGBT group

● Gays' sexual unsafe behavior stops them from donating blood

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China’s Ministry of Health says lesbians, will now be allowed to give blood again, for the first time in 14 years. But the ban on gay men donating continues.

This is considered home away from home for many lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people.

New regulation to eliminate discrimination towards LGBT group

Beijing’s LGBT centre has been dedicated to helping social minorities. Since it was founded a few years ago, board member Xu Bin, an openly lesbian, has been calling for equal treatment for the LGBT group. She says many lesbians were unhappy at being banned from donating blood.

Xu Bin, board member of Beijing Lgbt Center, said, "I went to donate blood many times before 1998 when there was no ban on lesbians. I found we were banned after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 when many injured people needed blood. Many lesbians told me they didn’t understand why. They just wanted to help."

Xu pays great attention to her colleagues, and has set up another organization call "Tong Yu", offering particular care to lesbians. When she heard the ban was being lifted, she immediately launched a campaign encouraging lesbians to give blood. As a campaigner, she is happy to see public health polices evolving.

Xu said, "The new regulation is certainly a step forward in eliminating discrimination towards homosexuals as it doesn’t use that term anymore. Instead, it targets clearly men sexually active with other men. Though not absolutely correct, the government’s awareness in amending the law is encouraging. "

Gays' sexual unsafe behavior stops them from donating blood

However, her male colleague, Luo Meng does not share her joy. Luo found he was interested in men at high school. He always knows that his group is not allowed to donate blood even if many practise safe sex and do not fall into a high-risk HIV category.

Luo Meng, staff member of Beijing LGBT Center, said, "It’s certainly not right. The new regulation shows an attitude of zero tolerance to all men sexually active with men. But they are not in a high-risk group if their sexual behavior is safe. Also, by targeting this particular group again, the public will have an even worse impression of us. This could increase discrimination against us. "

Figures from UNAIDS CHINA shows about 6.3 percent of men sexually active with men are HIV positive, a hundred times higher than heterosexuals. And experts say it all due to the unsafe sexual contact.

Prof. Zhang Konglai, Consultant of Chinese Assoc. For Std/Aids Prevention & Control, said, "It’s not the sexual orientation that stops gays from donating blood, but their unsafe sexual behaviour. We’ve found that the HIV ratio among gays who have just one sexual parter is very low. But for those with more than one partner, the risk rises. So, the concern is unsafe behavior. "

Although all donated blood is screened, the three-month window of contracting and developing the HIV virus makes it impossible to detect infected blood immediately after it is collected.


Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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