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New Zealand: New one-year blood ban now in place

The new 12 month stand down period for gay and bisexual men who want to give blood comes into effect today in New Zealand, after being approved by Medsafe.

It means men who haven’t anal or oral sex with another man in a year can donate.

The ban period was dropped from five years to 12 months at the recommendation of team which carried out a review for the New Zealand Blood Service.

The group cited the fact Australia’s twelve month stand-down for the past ten years, with no evidence of HIV transmission, in its reasons for the change.
It said advances in donation testing and handling mean errors have now been virtually eliminated from the system, and the biggest risk of HIV entering the blood supply is during the very early ‘window period’ when it can’t yet be reliably detected.

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