Switzerland has announced that the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood has finally been lifted.
Blood donor service Swiss Transfusion SRC lodged the request to allow gay men to donate last June and was approved by the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (SwissMedic) on Tuesday.
Swiss Medic said in a statement on their website that instead of the existing unlimited exclusion for men who have sex with men, a “12-month deferral period since the last sexual contact will apply in future.”
The institution says the deferral period is in line with “the precautionary methods applicable to various other risk behaviours” such as “changing partners, staying in countries with a high AIDS rate, sexual contact with partners who have stayed in countries with a high AIDS rate for a lengthy period.”
Gay men in Switzerland were first banned from donating blood in 1977, during the AIDS crisis.
While Swiss Transfusion SRC welcomed the decision, they say it is still “far from perfect” as it still excludes gay people from giving blood.
“It should be based on actual personal behaviour rather than on sexual orientation,” says the organisation’s director, Rudolf Schwabe.
The new policy will come into effect on July 1.