Blood Donation among Gay and Bisexual Men

Speaker: 
Session Date: 
Saturday, March 25, 2023 - 03:05

How can we provide tailored public health advice while not discriminating?

Communities of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBM) are more vulnerable to infectious diseases like HIV, certain sexually transmitted infections and Monkeypox (MPX). To address this need, we often target interventions and tailor public health policies. But at the same time, not all GBM are at heightened risk, and we want to avoid behaving in ways that stigmatise, unnecessarily treat people differently, or cause offence.

This talk will focus on Aotearoa New Zealand’s controversial policy that excludes gay men from donating blood. Many view this as discriminatory, unscientific and inconsistent with modern, safe-sex approaches. Peter will discuss blood testing and deferral policies, trust in institutions, the framing of donating blood as a moral act, the harms of being excluded, what alternative policies could look like, the implications of change, and the potential increase in new donors. The talk will highlight the balancing act of keeping our blood supply safe from serious infectious diseases while ensuring we have enough donors and promoting social inclusion among minoritised communities like GBM.