Is it safe for gay men to donate blood? Here’s what the science says.

by Cormac O'Brien

In the 1980s, rules were put in place in the United States and Britain restricting blood donation from gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men.

Coming at the height of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, these restrictions were intended as emergency measures to prevent contamination of donated blood. Nearly 40 years on, however, some countries still maintain a ban on blood donation from gay men while others make gay men abstain from sex for months or even years before giving blood.

Here, the Thomson Reuters Foundation takes a look at the evidence behind these bans and asks whether they are still needed in 2020.

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