IKEA and Microsoft want German gays to be able to donate blood

Several large companies, including IKEA, Microsoft and Continental, want the German government to make it easier for homosexual and bisexual men to donate blood. As of now, men who have sex with men are only allowed to do this if they have not had sex for twelve months.
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In an open letter, the 13 companies write that under the current circumstances, all homosexuals should be able to donate blood. A general assumption of "sexual risk behaviour" among LGBT+ people is unacceptable, say the Swedish furniture giant and the American tech giant. The German Railways and elevator manufacturer Thyssenkrupp have also attached their name to the letter.

Many countries, including Germany, have guidelines for the donation of blood by men who have sex with men. This has its origins in the AIDS crisis at the end of the last century. “The HIV risk of blood donors should be judged based on their individual sexual behaviour and not on their sexual orientation,” said Barbara Thiel, head of "diversity and inclusion" at Thyssenkrupp to Reuters. In the letter, the writers refer to other countries with a lower guideline.

Different standards of blood donation for men who have sex with men are maintained in Europe. In the Netherlands and Denmark, the term has recently been reduced to four months. This year, France also decided to apply the four-month term. In the United Kingdom, "only" three months apply, while in Spain, Italy and Portugal there is no special guideline for this group. These three southern European countries look at the sexual behaviour of an individual, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the US recently reduced the standard for blood donation as well. Men who have sex with men can now donate blood after three months.

Nevertheless, many are still criticizing the minimum of three to four months. LGBT+ interest groups emphasize that this is still a high barrier, as sexually active individuals have sex more than once every three months. In Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Ireland and Finland, a period of 12 months still applies. In Austria, this particular group is currently completely excluded from being allowed to donate blood.

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