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The current ruling on health in Hong Kong can be pretty strict on gay men. For instance, if gay men want to donate blood, they can't.
Current health policy for the Red Cross’s blood transfusion service (or BTS) in Hong Kong has potential donors fill out health forms for criteria such as recent travel, medical conditions, and so on. If a male donor stated that he had sex with another man at all he would be permanently deferred from donating.
That said, that policy will no longer be in effect as of September 25.
The Hong Kong Red Cross has announced that from now on the rule will be that men who haven’t had sex with another man in the past 12 months can donate blood.
This decision to change was made after officials in the BTS studied practices from other countries such as France, England, Australia, and the US.
For years, those countries have allowed for men who haven’t had gay sex in 12 months to donate blood without adverse effects.
Lee Cheuk Kwong via The Croucher Foundation
Dr Lee Cheuk-kwong, the chief executive and medical director of the BTS, stated that the data they studied convinced them that the risk after lowering the time to 12 months was not great.
“Previous studies showed that those men would be more honest in answering health assessment questions [after the change of policy],” said Dr. Lee. “The risk could be further reduced.”
Aids Concern, a charity group, praised the new change and said it was “a step forward,” but they also were adamant that the limit needs to be shortened even further.
This is also a great step for gay men in Hong Kong in general. A survey in June pointed Hong Kong out as one of the least gay-friendly cities for gay men to live.
Discrimination and misunderstanding is still prevalent in the region, but perhaps this will be the start to a better future.