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Austria to end blood donor discrimination based on sexual orientation

In future blood donation in Austria will depend on individual risk behaviour, not sexual orientation.

Austria to end blood donor discrimination based on sexual orientation
Austria will stop blanket discrimination on blood donation (Photo by Norbu GYACHUNG on Unsplash)

Austria’s Health Ministry announced it would change the blood donation rules to remove discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation.

“The discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation is finally a thing of the past”, Health Minister Johannes Rauch said in a statement.

The federal government has already prepared a draft regulation changing the rules. It expects it to come into force in the summer.

3 Mal 3-Regel

So far, homosexual and bisexual men, their partners and trans-persons in Austria were prevented from donating blood through a blank exclusion.

In the future, only people who have had more than three sexual partners in the past three months (the “3 Mal 3-Regel”) will not be allowed to donate blood.

READ ALSO: Austria’s top court legalizes same-sex marriage

“Obviously, the highest safety standards for blood donation preservation are met”, Rauch added, saying that the donated blood will be tested regardless of who the donor is.

This Friday, the Health Minister was on Ö1 Mittagsjournal and described the earlier rules as “old and discriminatory”.

Restrictions based on place of birth or travel

Austria still has some restrictions on blood donation based on citizenship or travel and residence history.

For example, persons who have stayed in the UK for a total of more than six months between 1980 and 1996 or who have undergone surgery or transfusion there are subject to permanent exclusion, according to the Rotes Kreuz.

There are also temporary bans from four weeks to six months for people returning from countries affected with diseases such as dengue fever, Chagas, and Zika virus.

READ ALSO: Everything foreigners need to know about the Austrian healthcare system

For those who were born or spent more than six months in a place with a high risk for Malaria, there is a permanent ban on blood donations.

This includes countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, parts of China, the Dominican Republic, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, parts of South Africa, and several other countries.

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