Using another deceptive headline, Portugal’s media is running with the news that gay men can finally give blood.
But the bottom line is that becoming a donor if you are a homosexual male is almost just as difficult as it was before.
The new “rules” published on Monday simply change the wording of health service orientation from “definitive suspension” to “temporary suspension”.
The 12-month limit stays put.
In other words, no gay man who is sexually active can give blood.
They will only be considered as a blood donor 12 months after their last sexual contact.
“The same period of suspension is applicable to all donors who have sex with prostitutes and drug-users,” writes Diário de Notícias, giving no indication how health authorities will be able to detect people who have had sex with prostitutes and drug users if they do not volunteer the information themselves.
The new rules also establish a 12-month ban since last sexual activity on people who have had sex with carriers of HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and people from Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.
Again, there is nothing in the news stories to explain how blood collection staff can ensure no-one ‘slips through the cracks’.
The system appears to rely on people telling the truth and being able to remember their sexual partners.
According to DN, another stipulation is that donors who change their sexual partners have to wait six months before being evaluated as to whether they can return to giving blood.