National Blood Transfusion Council recently circulated an updated blood nation form in Mumbai which seems to be an exhaustive one as it requires male donors to answer questions about their sexual behaviour and whether they have multiple sex partners.
The updated guideline re-iterated that gay and bisexual men, transgender and female sex workers can never donate blood as they have a higher risk of contracting HIV and Hepatitis B and C. However, this is the first time that the form spells out questions in detailed manner.
Staffers at the blood banks said the new questionnaire, designed on the lines of developed nations, has put them in a spot. The earlier format cursorily asked whether the donor had a reason to believe he or she may be infected by hepatitis, malaria, HIV or AIDS, or any venereal disease. However, the new questionnaire mandates blood collectors to ask if the donor has “multiple sex partners or engaged in male to male sexual activity.
As quoted by TOI, Ashok Row Kavi of Humsafar Trust said there are issues of confidentiality that need to be addressed better. “Are gay men simply supposed to give away such intimate details? While such questions are necessary for screening, they also have to create an environment where a person feels comfortable to share. Banks much seek the help of gay community counsellors.”