• An Indian donor lies on a bed as he donates blood at a blood transfusion clinic in New Delhi on June 1, 2016. (AFP / Getty Image (Photo credit should read CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images))
The rule was only uncovered after a freedom of information request was filed.
By
Michaela Morgan

21 Jul 2017 - 3:07 PM  UPDATED 21 Jul 2017 - 3:07 PM

Blood donation rules vary from country to country, but many nations—including Australia— place restrictions on men who have sex with men, citing the risk of HIV transmission.

However, India has taken this rule one step further and banned the entire LGBT+ community from donating blood— with the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) labelling the community as a “high risk group”.

The restriction was only discovered after a ‘Right To Information’ request was filed by prominent activist Chetan Kothari on April 26, DNA reports

RECOMMENDED
Sex trafficking interrogated in compelling novel featuring India’s hijra community
"What the mainstream suppresses becomes the shadow world. If we want to look at our own fears, biases and prejudices, we have to look at that world.”

A senior internal medical specialist at Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi—Dr Farah Ingale—made a sweeping assumption about the LGBT+ community and why the restriction is in place. 

“They are categorised as high-risk group mainly because they have multiple sexual partners and there is a high incidence of HIV,” she told DNA.

“There are tests before blood transfusion, but they are not 100 per cent accurate every time. So, it is better to avoid rather than taking risks. In India, not many are aware about their medical history."

RECOMMENDED
7 things 'Gaycation' taught us about America's LGBT+ culture
Love (sometimes) wins.

LGBT+ activist Harish Iyer told DNA that rule was discriminatory, saying that technically, everybody is “high risk”.

“The blood given to any laboratory needs to be tested,” he said.

“If a straight person donated blood, is it offered to a beneficiary without testing? What's the point in declaring an entire community as high-risk? This is nothing but discrimination. Don't the non-LGBT people engage in high-risk behaviour?

“The medical fraternity needs to stand up against this."