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Blood donation Restrictions for male gay blood donors to remain

Blood samples in a rack

The Senate clearly rejected a motion to ease restrictions on blood donations from gay men 

(Keystone)

Parliament has thrown out a proposal to grant gay men the unconditional right to donate blood in Switzerland.

The Senate on Wednesday overturned a previous decision by the House of Representatives, calling on the government to drop restrictions for gay men.

Opponents argued that the current legislation, which came into force in July this year complete with restrictions on the use of blood from sexually active gay men, was not discriminatory and wanted to ensure the safety of blood recipients.

+ Swissmedic approves blood donations from gay men

The centre-right Conservative Democratic Party proposal wanted to scrap a regulation calling for gay male donors to have been sexually abstinent for 12 months before giving blood.

Similar regulations are in place in several other countries, including neighbouring France and Germany as well as Britain, the United States and Australia.

Addressing the senate, Interior Minister Alain Berset, who is in charge of health matters, came out against the proposal, saying the current rules could be eased without a legal amendment.

Supporters of an unconditional donor policy argue it could help ease a shortage of blood donations.

Following the outbreak of the AIDS disease at the end of the 1970s, an outright ban was put in place for men who had sexual intercourse with other men.

swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug

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