There are massive amounts of residual fear about blood product contamination stemming from the contaminated blood scandals, which causes thousands of deaths due to HIV and Hepatitis C in patients requiring a blood transfusion.
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The restrictions vary from country to country, and in many cases, men are deferred even though they always have protected sex or have not had sex with men for many years.
The restrictions affect these men, and, in some cases, any female sex partners.
Since 2009, the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) had deferred males who have had oral or anal intercourse, with or without protection, with another male for five years.
From the formation of the NZBS in 1998 to 2009, the deferral period had been ten years, but reduced to five years following an independent review of blood donation criteria in 2007-8 which found no significant difference in risk to the blood supply for deferral periods of five years compared to ten years. The new 1 year deferral has been in effect since 15 December 2014.
Following several adjournments of the case to allow the blood service and Department of Health to examine and develop the donation policies, in late June 2016 the Irish Blood Transfusion Service recommended that the lifetime ban on MSM be reduced to a 12 month ban.
Later that week the Minister for Health Simon Harris agreed to the recommendations and announced the reduction would take place.
In June 2008, it was concluded that the ban was not unlawful in Finland as it is based on "appropriately reasoned epidemiological information" and because it is related to sexual behaviour rather than sexual orientation.
The ombudsman added that people over the age of 65 and people who lived in Britain during the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) outbreak are also screened out during blood donor interviews.
Hélder Trindade, President of the Portuguese Institute of Blood and Transplantation (IPST), stated in 2015 that sexually abstinent homosexuals may give blood, but that MSM is definitely seen as a risk factor.