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  • The risk of transfusion transmission is rare but laws still exist in many countries prohibiting gay and bisexual men

    The risk of transfusion transmission is rare but laws still exist in many countries prohibiting gay and bisexual men's donations. | Photo: Reuters

Gay and bisexual men will now be allowed to donate blood in the region.

The Hong Kong Red Cross has announced a reversal of its policy banning gay and bisexual men from donating blood.

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Gay and bisexual men will now be allowed to donate blood, under the condition that they have not had sex with other men for a 12-month “safety period” starting from September 25.

The previous ban was a lifetime one.

The Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service say the policy change is based on both scientific research, as well as the need for more blood donations.

Bans throughout the world placed on gay and bisexual men from donating blood have typically been under the justification that it is likely to increase the spread of HIV/Aids. However, those policies date back to when testing technology was still being invented, say AIDS Concern, a local Hong Kong NGO.

“With the advancement of science and technology, testing donated blood for HIV is now sophisticated," said the NGO.

"The window period of virus infection s just six days, which has substantially mitigated the risk of HIV transmission during the window period in blood donation," the group's statement added.

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