13 Apr 2017

Fiji banning blood from gay men "plays into prejudices" says Deo

5:38 am on 13 April 2017

A Fiji politician says the policy of preventing gay men from giving blood plays into prejudices.

A scientist holds three test tubes filled with blood in a laboratory.

Photo: 123RF

Media in Fiji are reporting a homosexual man was recently stopped from donating blood.

The Health Ministry said it was following WHO guidelines in not accepting blood donations from men who have sex with other men.

But politician and activist Roshika Deo said the guidelines do not reflect the reality in Fiji, as a Government report shows 85 percent of HIV cases there are transmitted by heterosexuals.

"A lot of the time when there's discussion on HIV and on AIDS it's also dominated with the narrative of it being more prominent or more common among the LGBTI community so this is also the social and cultural perception that plays into this prejudice of blood donation."

Roshika Deo said there was a critical shortage of blood in Fiji and there should be better technology to screen blood from all people.