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Ban on blood donations from gay men could be relaxed in Hong Kong

A ban on gay men donating blood in Hong Kong may soon be lifted.

The Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service in Hong Kong announced that it would review the current permanent ban that prevents gay men from donating blood.

The decision to review the policy came after a Christian student group protested the current ban.

The group called on the Blood Transfusion Service (BTS), the sole blood provider for all hospitals in Hong Kong, to relax the ban.

They stressed that it was discriminatory to ban donors’ because of their choice of sexual partners.

The Student Christian Movement called for the ban to be eased so that only those who had had unsafe sex in the past three months were prevented from donating.

The protest was held outside of a Red Cross event

Ko Chung-lai, one of the protesters, said that the policy should be aligned to policies practiced internationally.

“Let’s say Japan, it is one year [ban]; it is also one year in the US. We hope that the Red Cross can keep abreast of the times,” the student said.

Dr Lee Cheuk-Kwong, the chief executive and medical director of the BTS said that the group acknowledged the protest and would review the current policy.

“We’ve actually been watching the situation closely and communicating with different stakeholders,” the doctor said.

A statement following Cheuk-Kwong’s response confirmed that the expert panel for the service had been regularly reviewing the questions asked of donors.

Currently, this questionnaire includes a question that asks men about their sexual history with other men.

Those who have had sex with men are “permanently deferred”.

“The BTS has been meeting different bodies in society over the past two years and will continue to communicate with all stakeholders [on the issue],” the statement said.

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