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TGA should review gay bone marrow ban - Greens

Media Release
Robert Simms 22 Jan 2016

Media reports that a gay man is being prevented from donating life-saving bone marrow, highlight the urgent need for the TGA to review the suite of restrictions imposed on gay men in Australia say the Greens.

"Last year I wrote to the Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson regarding restrictions imposed on men who have sex with men donating blood and asking him to investigate the matter," the Greens Sexuality Spokesperson, Senator Robert Simms, said.

"I think many Australians would be shocked to discover that these restrictions also apply to bone marrow. Bone marrow donors are very hard to find and the case of Ms Lara Casalotti highlights the impact these kind of restrictions can have. In this case, it really is life or death for Ms Casalotti, yet it seems that a prospective donor is being rejected purely on the basis of their sexual orientation. It's an absurd situation.

"Given restrictions on gay men donating bone marrow have been lifted in Canada, the UK and US, one has to wonder why Australia is the odd one out. With changes in technology and HIV testing, it really is time for the TGA to review the restrictions imposed on gay men donating blood and marrow. Restrictions should be based on the evidence, not discrimination."

The Greens have been lobbying for the TGA to reduce the blanket 12 month restriction on gay men donating blood from 12 months to 6 months, in line with the advice of the Red Cross.

Media contact: Cambell Klose 0417 173 508


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