Ban on gay or bisexual men giving blood donations lifted in Greece

COVID-19 pandemic increases the urgency for blood donations in gREECE

Men who have had same-sex sexual relations can now donate blood in Greece, following the lifting of a decades-old ban.

On Monday, Health Minister Thanos Plevris and his deputy, Mina Gaga, signed a ministerial decree creating a new form that prospective blood donors must complete.

The new document removes homosexual acts from the list of criteria debarring someone from donating blood. It will come into force upon publication in the Government Gazette.

The existing blood donation document banned any man who has had sex with another man at any point since 1977 from donating blood.

Soon after becoming a minister in September, Plevris requested the president of the National Blood Transfusion Center to review the ban.

Many countries introduced blood donation controls in the wake of the HIV/Aids epidemic in the 1980s when infected blood, donated by drug users and prisoners, contaminated supplies. Greece was one of the few countries that upheld the ban.