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
This is considered home away from home for many lesbians, gays, bisexuals and
New regulation to eliminate discrimination towards LGBT
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
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
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.
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