Editorial: Homophobia and Voluntary Blood Donation

On the Occassion of World Blood Day, SASOD and GuyBow did a joint letter to the Medical Director, National Blood Transfusion Service, which was copied to
The Minister of Health
The Director of PANCAP
The PAHO Country Rep
The Country Co-ordinator of UNAIDS

Dear Editor

On the occasion of World Blood Donor Day, we are pleased to note that the National Blood Transfusion Service has asked the media to work with them to encourage more voluntary donors. Please permit us to highlight, through the media, a serious case of stigma and discrimination which the NBTS indulges in , which perhaps would prevent voluntary blood donations. The NBTS it seems, has a public policy of refusing blood from the following persons.

Men who have sex with men men who have sex with men and women Women who have sex with women amongst others. SASOD recognises that the NBTS is linking the HIV/AIDS epidemic, to gay and lesbian, regardless of evidence to the contrary which shows that women who have sex with men are the most vulnerable, while women who have sex with women are least vulnerable to the HIV epidemic. SASOD hopes that the National Blood Transfusion Service will correct their perceptions. It is expected that the Minister of Health who is the custodian of the National AIDS policy will also ensure that prejudices are not perpetuated throughout the health system, regardless of the source of the donor funds.

They have to test all blood for HIV anyways, and it is now accepted that HIV is spread through any kind of sexual contact, not only through homosexual contact.

Yours sincerely
SASOD Members
Tags: StigmaHIV/AIDSDiscrimination