Gay rights activist Troy Jonsson (Mr. Gay Iceland) is taking the Icelandic government to court for upholding a ban on blood bank donations from gay and bisexual men.
In an interview with Gay News Network Jonson says the ban is based on outdated information from “way back” referring to the height of the AIDS/HIV epidemic (as some call it) in the 1980’s, when little was known about HIV transmission and HIV was widely considered exclusively a “gay disease”.
Jonson points out that due to technological advances in recent years the decades-old ban has been rendered obsolete. “Today blood screening is at its best. Blood goes through an extensive process to ensure that it’s clean before given to a recipient.” Therefore nothing really justifies the ban.
Other countries have already started lifting or moderating the “blood ban”. In the U.K, Australia and Canada for example, men who’ve had sex with men now have to wait 1-5 years after their last sexual encounter before they can donate blood.
According to the Huffington post a federal advisory committee recently “recommended for the first time that the U.S. soften its lifelong ban on blood donations from gay men”.
In a joint statement, the American Red Cross, the American Association of Blood Banks and America’s Blood Centers called the ban “medically and scientifically unwarranted.” The U.S. is thought likely to adopt a 1 year deferral.
What will happen in Iceland is however hard to speculate .