Activist Appeals Ban on Gay, Bisexual Blood Donors
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) this week accepted a lawsuit arguing that a 16-year-old decree that prohibits homosexual and bisexual men from donating blood is unconstitutional.
The court agreed to review the decree following complaints by activist Alberto Cabezas, a representative of the Young People s Consulting Network, who called the rule totally unethical and outmoded.
He said the decree prohibits those who declare they are homosexual or bisexual men or prostitutes on blood donation applications from being able to donate blood.
Cabezas said he refused to give blood when he learned of the regulation, and wants it repealed. The decree declares homosexual and bisexual men, prostitutes, promiscuous people and drug addicts who inject drugs as high risk groups.
Cabezas pointed to the policy of the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), which bases a person s risk for AIDS on whether they have risky sexual conduct, not which the group they fall into, as a model to follow.
Costa Rica s Social Security System (Caja) screens all donated blood for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other diseases according to international regulations, said Dr. Ana Lorena Torres, of the Caja s Microbiology Department. The microbiologist told The Tico Times prospective donors are interviewed before they are allowed to donate blood but are not asked directly if they are homosexual or bisexual.
During the interviews we try to eliminate certain risks It s not discriminatory, she said. According to Torres, the blood tests are 99.8% accurate.
Cabezas, however, says that on the written form, blood donors are asked directly whether they are gay or bisexual, and if they are, they are prohibited from donating blood.
You may be interested
Strong winds cause three deaths in Costa Rica, one in El SalvadorAFP - December 10, 2017
Three people have died in Costa Rica, includiing two Swiss tourists, and one in El Salvador as a result of…
6 camouflaged Costa Rican creatures you probably haven’t seenLindsay Fendt - December 9, 2017
The jungle can be a scary place, and even for some of the fiercest of Costa Rica’s creatures, sometimes the…
National Geographic-Lindblad Expeditions ship makes first visit to Osa PeninsulaThe Tico Times - December 8, 2017
National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions touched down for the first time on Costa Rica's renowned Osa Peninsula this week for…