Swiss medical authorities have lifted restrictions on blood donations for homosexual men as of November 1. Previously, they could become donors only after 12 months had passed from the date of their last same-sex contact. Now the same rules will apply to them as to all other donors – however, they are also quite strict.
The “12 month rule” was introduced in Switzerland for gay donors in 2017. Previously, men who have sex with men were completely prohibited from donating blood. Such wariness arose in the 1980s with the beginning of the HIV epidemic: gays were considered a risk group until the early 2000s, when the epidemic spread beyond vulnerable groups and affected all segments of the population.
From November 1, gay donors in Switzerland will be subject to the same rules as everyone else. They remain very strict: a person can donate blood no earlier than 4 months after the first sexual contact with a new partner, regardless of his or her gender.
Restrictions on blood donation for gays in Europe have already been lifted by Spain, Italy and France. Experts emphasize that heterosexual people can also be carriers of infections, and any donated blood is tested for HIV and other infections, as well as quarantine.