PARIS — France’s National Consultative Ethics Committee this week advised the government to maintain its current ban on men who have sex with men giving blood, the Local France reports.
The committee said in a statement that further research was needed before considering lifting the ban, adding that changing the law now “could expose people to medical risks which should be taken into consideration from an ethical point of view.”
“Giving blood is not a right. What matters most is the health and the protection of the receiver,” said Jean-Claude Ameisen, president of the Committee, as quoted in the Local.
Their report said that there were still “scientific uncertainties” on the risks of using blood from homosexual men, adding that there was also a lack of information for the gay community to help them understand if they are at risk.
The issue has been raised again as part of Health Minister Marisol Touraine’s new health reform package, which called for a review of the blood donation process for the gay community in France.
Men in France who acknowledge in a mandatory pre-donation interview ever having sex with another man are automatically and permanently banned from giving blood. The ban stems from a 1983 law based on statistics that showed there was a prevalence of the HIV virus among homosexuals and the fact that the virus is not always picked up if blood tests take place immediately after transmission.