Gay and bisexual men will soon be allowed to donate blood in Greece.
On Monday, the country lifted a ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, which had been in place since the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Ekathimerini.com reports that Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris and his deputy Mina Gage signed a decree to create a new form for prospective applicants to complete before giving blood donations. The form will no longer include homosexual acts as a restricted activity.
Kathimerini had previously reported that Plevris requested the government review donation restrictions last year, amid rising pressure on the medical industry during the Covid pandemic. At the time, Plevris said that the existing rules “do not meet the current medical data.”
Many countries around the world banned gay and bisexual men, or any man who’d reported having sex with another man, from donating blood in the wake of the HIV/AIDS crisis. LGBTQ+ activists have argued that such restrictions are discriminatory, especially given how far medical screening has come in the decades since the crisis.
“Lifting this long-lasting ban on blood donation was the least this government had to do,” Irene Petropoulou of the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization OΛKE told Pink News. “Of course, it is great news, and we hope the government will pay more attention to other discriminations in the healthcare system and education.”
The new guidelines will come into effect once the next Government Gazette, an official document listing the country’s laws, is published.