Ireland’s policy is “unnecessary, discriminatory and disproportionate.”
We told you last week about the young man who gave up sex for a year in order to make a statement about the outdated blood-donation regulations currently aimed at gay men, but it looks like the problem reaches far beyond the U.S.
Tomás Heneghan told The Irish Times that he’s been fighting “tooth and nail” for the right to give blood as a gay man in Ireland, and even filed a lawsuit to challenge the country’s former lifetime ban on gay men giving blood.
He dropped the case after the government replaced the archaic ban with one similar to the policy adopted by the U.S., which allows gay men to donate as long as they haven’t had sex in the past year, but he says the new rule has not gone far enough to prevent discrimination.
Heneghan reports that he was recently able to give blood for the first time since December 2012 because he finally made it outside of the one-year timeframe, but argues that it shouldn’t be so difficult for him to perform his “civic duty”—something he’s been doing since he was 18.
“I will continue to be an active blood donor,” Heneghan told The Irish Times, “and will continue to push and fight for further change until such point as the policies for blood donation in Ireland reflect the most scientific and rational evidence.”
As a start, the 25-year-old suggests shortening the policy’s gay-sex ban from one year to three months in order to allow for the period in which HIV can remain undetected in the body through current methods of testing, but hopes to soon see a day where giving blood doesn’t involve discrimination of any kind.