Israel Eases Restrictions on Blood Donations by Gay Men

Written on 08/25/2021
Contributing Columnist

Israel is one of the countries to lift limitations on blood donations made by gay men — Infotel News reported.

Israel's health minister, Nitzan Horowitz, stated the restriction was prejudice and disparages the LGBTQ2S+ community. The announcement was made on Thursday (Aug. 19).

It comes not long after the U.K. made the same decision to loosen limitations on blood donations from gay and bisexual men earlier this year.

The U.S. made a similar choice last year as a solution to the country's blood supply.

Homosexual and bisexual men who want to donate blood in Israel used to be asked if they had same-sex relations in the past 12 months, and if the answer was 'yes,' it would disqualify them from donating.

The questionnaire now asks if potential donors have "high-risk sexual relations with a new partner or partners" in their recent three months, written with gender-neutral wording.

Horowitz himself is an openly gay man and took it to Facebook to say that the Health Ministry "removed the denigrating and irrelevant questions" in the blood donor questionnaire. He added that regardless of sexual orientation, everyone will be treated with respect and dignity.

"There's no difference between one blood and the other," he said. "Discrimination against gays in donating blood is over."

LGBTQ2S+ rights groups in Israel praised the step toward equal rights. Head of the Israeli LGBT Medical Associations, Gal Wagner Kolasko, posted on Twitter that Horowitz made a "historical correction."

"Now there are safe blood doses for all without discrimination or harming human rights. Because discrimination also causes serious damage to health," Kolasko said.

(Image Credit: Getty Images)