65% of Israel’s LGBT community willing to donate blood under new plan

January 11, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s Ministry of Health procedures have been changed to include donations from male members of the LGBT community under condition that 12 months have passed since donors had sexual relations.

Blood collected by MDA

As part of the effort to bridge between the willingness of the LGBT community to make blood donations, and protecting the safety of blood units, Magen David Adom’s blood services and Knesset Member Meirav Ben-Ari, the Israeli Aids Task Force and Israel’s LGBT Task Force, collaborated to find a solution enabling male members of the LGBT community to donate blood, even 12 months have not passed since they’ve had sexual relations. MDA Director General, Eli Bin, approached MDA’s VP Director of Blood Services, Professor Eilat Shinar, with the request of finding a solution to the problem. After consulting with experts in Israel and abroad, the following plan has been offered:

According to the plan, when male members of the LGBT community will donate blood, the plasma units will be separated, frozen and kept in special cooling conditions (quarantine) for four months. At the end of that period, when the donor returns to donate blood and all tests of the new donation are negative for infectious diseases that may be transmitted in transfusion, the frozen units will be approved as treatment for patients. It should be noted, that under these conditions, the safety of such units will be ensured since donors get checked for eligibility twice – during the initial donation and prior to transfusion, and therefore, making sure the safety of blood units and patients isn’t hindered.

An explanation of this process will be included in questionnaires given to blood donors, and in order to participate, the candidate will be required to note that in another question that will be added to the donor’s questionnaire. The stance of male members of the LGBT community on the issue was researched in an online survey conducted in 2017, revealing 65% of participants expressed interest in the new mechanism. The Ministry of Health accepted the recommendation of its consulting committee on the topic of transfusion medicine, to execute the pilot for two years with MDA, after which results will be checked.

Chairman of the LGBT Lobby, Knesset Member, Meirav Ben-Ari assisted MDA Director General in leading the initiative and said: “I am happy to take part in the solution of the issue of blood donation from the LGBT community. For years, there was a frustrating situation in which LGBTs could not donate blood, and when they did, they had to lie about their sexual orientation. Today, this is an important historic step towards equality, and I have had the opportunity to assist in finding the solution. I commend Eli Bin, MDA Director General, and the Ministry of Health for their important decision. This is great news for the community that will enlarge the blood bank and help save lives in Israel. I will continue to operate towards assisting the community in any field necessary.”

Magen David Adom’s VP Director of Blood Service, Professor Eilar Shinar stated: “I would like to thank the professional experts in transfusion medicine and prevention of infectious diseases, representatives of the LGBT community and the Israeli Aids Task Force for their excellent collaboration in preparing the new procedure. This activity, in addition to the revamping of tests conducted on blood units for the identification of diseases that may be transferred by transfusions, enables to bridge between protecting the safety of blood units and the willingness of the LGBT community to take part in saving lives.”

Chairman of the Israeli LGBT Task Force Chen Ariely added: “The constant refusal to receive blood donations from male members of the LGBT community, and their requirement to lie, was an insult, but it has come to end. We operated in a process that involved the public, in which over 1,500 members of the community took place, and expressed support of the temporary solution, until the integration of a component that would enable everybody to donate blood. This initiative positions Israel as one of the most advanced countries in the world in this field and we commend this important steps towards equality.”

 

“Starting very soon, all members of the population will be able to enlist to saving lives regardless of their sexual orientation. Donation of blood is a right and duty common to all civilians of Israel. I would like to thank Knesset Member Meirav Ben-Ari for her general and financial support to the benefit of promoting this step, and Professor Eilar Shinar who, thanks to her skills and professionalism, has found the solution that enables all civilians to manifest their right and duty and enlarge MDA’s blood bank and save lives” said MDA Director General, Eli Bin.

 

Comments

3 Responses to “65% of Israel’s LGBT community willing to donate blood under new plan”
  1. Michael Barnett says:

    This story should be framed in terms of men who have sex with men (MSM) and not so much as members of the LGBT community. There are many men who do not identify as gay or bisexual, but rather as heterosexual, who have sex with other men. Many MSM are in relationships with women, often married.

    Such is the nature of the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox communities that there is no simple way for same-sex attracted men in those communities to openly engage with other men for sexual purposes, that they do so clandestinely, and potentially without the benefit of an understanding of safer sex practices.

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    Thank you for the respect for others……

  3. Adrian Jackson says:

    That is very good in the Gay community.

    What is the data for straight Israelis, Palestinians and Israel Arabs?

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