Hong Kong lawmaker calls for gays to be allowed to donate blood

Gay Star news

Opposition lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen has called on the Hong Kong Red Cross to change its rules so that gay men can donate as the group struggles to find new donors
| By Andrew Potts
Hong Kong lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen

Photo by Wikipedia

Openly gay Hong Kong lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen has called on the Blood Bank of Hong Kong to allow people to donate blood regardless of sexual orientation after he was stopped from donating.

Currently any man who has had sex with another man is banned from donating blood in Hong Kong but the Blood Bank has been having trouble attracting new donors and keeping up with demand.

Chan, a representative of the opposition People Power party, made the call after he was turned away from a mobile blood donation service located in the Hong Kong Legislative Council on Wednesday.

‘I was given a questionnaire in which a question asks if I have had sex with a man. I ticked the box,’ Chan told the South China Morning Post.

‘Then a doctor explained to me that statistics and foreign examples show that blood from men who have had sex with men show a high risk [of HIV].

Chan said the ban was impractical because it relied on people’s honesty, so anyone prepared to lie about their sexual orientation could already give blood.

‘Many countries already allow homosexuals to donate blood if they have not had sex in a year. That is what is happening in Britain and Australia,’ Chen said.

Chen said he had spoken to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority about lifting or reducing the ban so that non-promiscuous gay men who practiced safe sex could donate.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service told the newspaper that an expert panel created by the Hospital Authority regularly monitored overseas trends on blood donation.

A non-scientific poll on the South China Morning Post website showed that 54% of those who took part thought gay men should be allowed to donate blood in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Blood Transfusion Service consultant Dr Cheuk-kwong Lee warned in February of a decline of 6.7% in new donors in 2012 and said that blood collection would need to be increased by at least 3.4% in 2013 to meet demand – representing an additional 8,000 units of blood.

Lee estimated that the Blood Transfusion Service would have to collect an additional 8,000 to 10,000 units of blood each year due to the health needs of an aging population.

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