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It will soon be possible for gay men to donate blood, said Dr Janaki Sonoo, director of the Blood Bank.

The new criteria for blood donation will allow homosexuals to be donors, according to Dr Janaki Sonoo.
The new criteria for blood donation will allow homosexuals to be donors, according to Dr Janaki Sonoo.

Homosexuals will soon be able to donate blood too. Which was denied to them until now, because of their sexual practice. This was considered to be at greater risk than heterosexuals for transmitting HIV or hepatitis B. Following a review of the criteria, the questionnaire that all blood donors must complete will be modified. Specific questions will allow homosexuals to also participate in blood drives, explained Dr Janaki Sonoo, director of the Blood Bank.

Initially, there was the concept of the window period for infections. “If a person gets an infection today and donates blood two hours later, it was not possible for the laboratory to detect the infection. » But thanks to developments in blood testing, it is now possible to quickly detect not only antibodies, but also viruses in the blood. Which thus reduces the window period.

It will therefore soon be possible to collect blood from homosexuals according to specific criteria while guaranteeing the safety of the blood collected, Dr. J. Sonoo told us. “If a person has had sexual relations, there will be a three-month deference period, after which we can take their blood, because we have the possibility of doing more precise analyses,” she told us.

This new measure is welcomed by the Young Queer Alliance (YQA), which campaigns for LGBTQIA+ rights. According to Vipine Aubeeluck, secretary of the organization, this development is an important recognition of equality and non-discrimination in the field of health. For the YQA, the revision of the criteria was “long overdue”. “The risks in relation to HIV or other diseases should have been assessed not based on sexual practices, but after blood tests,” he explained to us.

For the association, non-discrimination is a democratic value anchored in our Constitution. “This discrimination against homosexuals perpetuated the prejudices faced by LGBTQIA+ people, still considered by a small fringe in Mauritius as the outcasts of society,” said the secretary of the YQA. For the association, a society that celebrates diversity and promotes inclusion benefits all its members, thus strengthening the social fabric and collective well-being. “By rejecting prejudice and adopting policies based on scientific evidence and values ​​of equality, Mauritius strengthens its identity as a rainbow nation,” says the YQA.

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