Gay men may soon be permitted to give blood in Iceland, albeit within restricted parameters, RÚV reports. According to information from the Ministry of Welfare, epidemiologists believe that it should be permissible for gay men to give blood, although there would still be significant restrictions in place, namely that gay blood donors will be required to have been abstinent for six months prior to donation.
Per the Ministry, risk assessment of other nations has shown that this arrangement—allowing gay men to donate blood after six months of abstinence—involves little to no risk of bloodborne infection. The ministry requested an epidemiological review of the issue this summer and the previous two Ministers of Health— Kristján Þór Júlíusson and Óttarr Proppé— both expressed an interest in reviewing the current blood donation restrictions. The current Minister, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, is currently reviewing the issue and taking into account the advice of medical professionals. She’s expected to make a decision on the issue soon.
Restrictions on blood donation based on sexual history and/or orientation vary throughout the world, but while many countries have lifted permanent bans on gay men donating blood, many still require that “men who have sex with men” defer blood donation for anywhere from three months to a full year.