MK Shelly Yacimovich to Health Ministry: Let Israeli gay men donate blood

Israeli statistics on AIDS show there is no justification for policy, lawmaker says.

MK Shelly Yacimovich (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MK Shelly Yacimovich
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Health Ministry has not announced whether it will adopt the new policy of the US Food and Drug Administration to accept blood donations from homosexual and bisexual men.
Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich on Tuesday called on the Health Ministry to halt the prohibition of accepting blood from non-heterosexual men.
The MK said that official Israeli statistics on AIDS show, “There is no justification to continue to prevent homosexuals and bisexuals from donating blood.”
Early this year, Yacimovich asked Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman a question on his blood donation policy after an anonymous tip to Magen David Adom led to the destruction of blood donated by a homosexual. Litzman directed MDA to change its procedures so as not to destroy units of donated blood, but rather to first check if the donors were in high-risk groups.
Yacimovich said the FDA is known to be “very strict” on donated blood.
Asked to comment, MDA – whose blood services branch collects and processes blood for hospitals – said that it does not have a position on the issue and it depends on experts in the ministry to set policy.
Also, the ministry still does not accept blood donations from people who visited or lived in Britain when it had an outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (mad cow’s) disease.