Gay men can now donate blood freely in Israel.

The Jewish state on Thursday announced the lifting of restrictions on blood donation imposed specifically on gay men, following in the footsteps of several Western countries, including the United Kingdom and France.

From October 1, only people “having had high-risk sex with a new partner or multiple partners“In the last three months will be banned from donating blood, regardless of sexual orientation, the health ministry said in a statement.

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No more year of abstinence to respect

Until now, gay men could only donate blood in Israel after one year of sexual abstinence.

The ban on gay men donating blood was a holdover from a stereotype from the past“, estimated the Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz, himself openly homosexual.

Any blood donor who seeks to save lives will receive the same welcome, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.“, he added in the statement.

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A “historic” decision

Until then to donate blood, gay men could also freeze their blood plasma for four months to make sure there was no “communicable diseases“, according to Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, also in charge of blood collection across the country.

The association for the equality of LGBTQ people in Israel hailed a decision “historic for the Pride community and for Israeli society on the path to equality“.

In France and the United Kingdom, blood donation no longer discriminates

In June, the UK also relaxed the rules for donating blood, allowing anyone who has had the same sexual partner in the past three months to participate in the blood drive, regardless of sexual orientation. The United States also facilitated the process in April 2020, due to a serious shortage of donations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In France, the one-year abstinence period that homosexuals had to respect to donate blood was reduced to four months in April 2020. The law on bioethics, promulgated on August 2, 2021, provides for the non-discrimination of donors based on their sexual orientation.