• Sweden's news in English

Gay men may donate blood: health board

TT/AFP/The Local · 1 Dec 2009, 18:55

Published: 01 Dec 2009 14:29 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Dec 2009 18:55 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The decision from the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) heralds a relaxation of a total ban on blood-giving for gay and bisexual men, with the new rules set to take effect on March 1st next year.

Fredrik Nilsson, 29, of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL), expressed satisfaction that the rules are set to change.

"I think it's wrong to discriminate against an entire group. It's good that it's becoming fairer," he said.

But he also had reservations as to whether the rule change would make a real difference.

"They've included an awful lot of conditions, to the extent that in reality it will be almost impossible to give blood should I wish to do so," he told the TT news agency.

In fixing the period during which gay men must steer clear of sexual intercourse at one year, the health board has backtracked on its own proposal for a six-month period of abstinence. The switch from six months to twelve follows criticism from the majority of interested parties involved in the consultation process.

The Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket), for example, pointed out that blood from Sweden would no longer be approved for sale under existing EU directives if the country were to allow gay men to donate plasma.

"The way things look now it's possible that blood centres will have to have two separate lines, whereby they block plasma from men who have sex with men so that it doesn't go to the industry," said health board spokesperson Monica Axelsson.

While it can take some weeks for sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and hepatitis to appear in test results, the health board is of the opinion that there are no medical grounds for a permanent blood donor ban for homosexual men.

Story continues below…

Donors have to fill in a detailed form about their health, including their sexual history, before being approved as donors. All donated blood is then tested before being used, said Axelsson.

Previous survey results have also shown that many homosexual men have given blood in Sweden despite the ban.

"People haven't told the truth," said Monica Axelsson, explaining how some men had skirted the regulations.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

15:30 December 1, 2009 by calebian22
Good grief!

What is worse, whoring around as a heterosexual or being monogomous in a gay relationship? How about having a questionaire that is sexually neutral? Orientation specific questions are kind of silly considering that anal sex for example (which is a higher risk activity) is not found soley in the gay community.

The lifting of this ban is pointless since it achieves nothing and I would imagine is actually insulting if you're gay.
15:36 December 1, 2009 by Twiceshy
calebian22 isn't it the case that gay men are more promiscuous? Gay people I've heard confirm that. It's not just about anal sex.

On another note, how many gay men haven't had sex in a year? I wonder if there are actually any.
15:38 December 1, 2009 by DeepFriedTwinky
hmmmmm. . . .I better not need blood while I'm in Sweden.
15:44 December 1, 2009 by Nemesis
All the plasma is treated anyway these days. It does not make any difference.
17:32 December 1, 2009 by peropaco
This is very insulting to gay people. What about those promiscuous women and men who engages in unprotected sex? roughly 90% of the weekend fiesta population.. Should they abstain for a year before giving blood as well?
17:36 December 1, 2009 by Nemesis
@ peropaco

Good point.

The sooner artifical blood becomes readily available as a commercial product the better.
17:40 December 1, 2009 by eZee.se
Quick question, does this really work on the honor system?

Because thats what i am getting from this, and if thats true.. the whole law is even more stupid than I thought.
18:27 December 1, 2009 by peropaco
@Nemesis, ;-)
18:45 December 1, 2009 by uk_kille75
Not all gay men fit the STEREOTYPE of PROMISCUOUS WHORE Twiceshy! There are many straight men and women who sleep around just as much, if not more than the average gay guy. Of course there are extremes with all sexualities and sexes. On your other note, there is at least one gay guy who has refrained from sex this year, me!

DeepFriedTwinky you are ignorant and homophobic. I hope, that should you ever need a transfusion, that there is someone who is willing to donate a unit of blood for you in order to prevent you from bleeding to death.
19:19 December 1, 2009 by zircon
Stay clear for one year of sexual intercourse. I can do that...
00:05 December 2, 2009 by Twiceshy
uk_kille75 spare me your outrage and read what I said again. I didn't say all gay men are promiscuous. I said they're MORE promiscuous. And from the polls and opinions I've read and heard about, they're much more promiscuous than the average heterosexual.
01:26 December 2, 2009 by Davey-jo
"People haven't told the truth," said Monica Axelsson

Well now, you don't say ..... tut tut
10:31 December 2, 2009 by Gwrhyr
Twiceshy, it makes no sense to generalize like you are doing. I wouldn't say that gay people are MORE promiscuous than any other group. Maybe you don't realize that gay people aren't just what you see in the gay club scene... heterosexuals who are into the club scene tend to be more promiscuous than other heterosexuals, that doesn't mean all heterosexual people are promiscuous. I think your words are blatantly offensive and show a complete misunderstanding of gay people - the only thing that all gay people have in common is that they are gay. Other t
10:52 December 2, 2009 by uk_kille75
Well said Gwehyr.
12:18 December 2, 2009 by Tutu
i am suprised that gay men are not allowed to give blood. can someone please explain to me what is wrong with gay blood
13:00 December 2, 2009 by uk_kille75
Our blood is a RISK, when it comes to HIV and Hep B. All because we have sex with other men!

Gay blood was probably a RISK in the 1980's and early 90's, but now gay men are more informed and are much safer when it comes to sex. HIV and Hep B rates are on the rise again along with all other sexually transmitted diseases for both gay and straight people, due to the poor sex education, screening and stereotyping.
18:41 December 2, 2009 by Twiceshy
You guys should stop posting and look up some statistics about the prevalence of HIV on gay men.

I'm not trying to offend anyone. Just posting what I understand to be the facts.
23:01 December 2, 2009 by uk_kille75
Of the reported 24,202 people diagnosed with HIV in Western Europe in 2007:

51% probably acquired HIV through heterosexual contact;

40% were men who had sex with men;

8% were injecting drug users;

31% were female;

26% were 15 to 29 years old.


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control/WHO Regional Office for Europe (2007) 'HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe'

UNAIDS (2008) 'Report on the global AIDS epidemic'
22:00 December 3, 2009 by Michael84
what's the problem with donating blood, i mean does it make a difference to be hetro, or homo? just asking
Today's headlines
Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available