I thought it appropriate that this announcement came on World AIDS Day: Sweden has announced that it is lifting its ban on blood donations by gay men, effective March 1, 2010.
Blood donations by any man who has ever had sex with another man were first banned in 1985, although some countries have already lifted the ban, according to Monica Axelsson, a spokeswoman for Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare. The ban is still in effect in the United States.
But Sweden has decided to take the reasonable step of basing the blood donation ban not on orientation, but on risky sexual behavior, although apparently male-to-male sex is still considered somewhat risky in terms of HIV transmission, since Sweden will still not accept blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man in the last year.
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, Axelsson said.