11 Apr 2017

Fiji confirms ban on homosexual blood donors

9:15 am on 11 April 2017

The health ministry in Fiji says homosexuals are banned from donating blood because they are seen as high-risk donors.

blood donation

Photo: Artem Zhitenev / RIA Novosti

The Fiji Village reported it received confirmation of the policy when it raised questions after a homosexual man was not allowed to donate during a recent blood drive.

The man told the paper he was embarrassed to be told in front other donors that this was because of his sexual orientation.

He said no questions were asked of him but that officials running the drive simply made the assessment that he was homosexual.

The Health Ministry told the site the World Health Organisation provides guidelines on blood transfusion and recommends that blood donations not be accepted from people in a number of categories.

It said this included people with active tuberculosis, anybody who has a history of the use of injecting drugs those with an irregular heartbeat, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and individuals who have had acupuncture or been tattooed within the past 12 months.

The Ministry said the WHO guidelines also advised against accepting blood donations from people who engage in high‑risk sexual behaviour and it said this included homosexuals.

The ministry stressed that Fiji is guided by WHO's expert advice on blood transfusion.

It also said that in order to avoid intrusive questioning anybody believed to be in any of these categories is asked to exclude themselves from donating blood.

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