Make a difference: Give blood!

datePosted on 12:00, January 12th, 2009 by Anita

You may have seen in the media the the blood supplies are going through their summer dip as regular donors are on holiday and collections drop.

So if you can give blood, or you’re not sure please ring the Blood Service and do it!

NZ Blood Service contact details

They take lots of people who think they may not be able to give blood (they take me, my chronic health condition and all my meds), blood is so precious and it’s a real chance to save a life.

P.S. If you are a regular donor at work but think that summer may have meant you’ve missed a donation get in touch and do it!

6 Responses to “Make a difference: Give blood!”

  1. Eddie Clark on January 13th, 2009 at 14:00

    I’d donate blood, except the NZBS prima facie think that gay men are riddled with disease. I’m in perfect health, have no medical conditions, on no drugs except coffee. But… gay. So I can’t.

  2. Anita on January 13th, 2009 at 16:22

    Eddie Clark,

    Someone at the Blood Service once told me they don’t ban men-who-have-sex-with-men because of the disease risk, they ban them because of the perceived risk. That is that they don’t want the misinformed and/or bigoted to worry that our blood supply is safe.

    They didn’t say “anyway, one of my best friends is gay” but they might as well have.

    Grrrrr… somewhere in all that pragmatism don’t they have a duty to not perpetuate misinformation and bigotry?

    P.S. I still give blood, one case where a boycott is counterproductive IMHO.

  3. Carol on January 13th, 2009 at 16:47

    Thanks for the link, Anita. I checked again, but alas I am still not elligible to donate:

    You must not have lived in the United Kingdom, France or the Republic of Ireland between 1980 and 1996 for a cumulative 6 months or more.

    I think they’re afraid I may be a mad cow.

    I hope they get enough donors.

  4. PK on January 13th, 2009 at 23:27

    I also have the mad cow disease apparently – dumb as you can test for prions (being the cause of mad cow disease and not a sub-atomic particle indicating you have a prior history of being gay) :) though they may not be sure down at the blood bank.

  5. Anita on January 19th, 2009 at 15:27

    I just got a lovely email back from the Blood Service about the rules for men who have sex with men, and people who have been resident in the UK, France or Ireland.

    It’s nice to see that they’ve gone through a review process and are in the process of changing the rules of men who have sex with men, so that from the 1st of March some will be able to give blood.

    The full response is below


    1. Men who have sex with men – MSM

    The primary responsibility of New Zealand Blood Service is to ensure that blood supplied to patients is as safe as is practicable.

    In common with other international blood services this is achieved by a combination of donor selection criteria and testing of donated blood. In the context of blood borne viruses, including HIV, donor selection criteria are based on the known pattern of blood borne viruses in the community. Currently in New Zealand sex between men is the most frequent identified cause of both HIV infection and AIDS. On this basis men who have had sex with other men in the last ten years are prevented from donating blood. Similar measures are in place in other developed countries.

    Current policies have been demonstrated to be highly effective in preventing transfusion transmission of HIV and other blood borne viruses. Indeed since 1985 when testing was introduced no case of transfusion associated infection has been reported relating to product transfused in within New Zealand.

    During 2007 an independent expert review was commissioned by the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) of donor criteria used to identify individuals at increased risk of acquiring significant blood borne infections. The review was initiated in response to a number of complaints to the Human Rights Commission from gay men alleging that some of the deferral criteria are discriminatory. The expert panel was lead by Professor Charlotte Paul of the Otago University Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. The group included experts from the NZ AIDS Epidemiology Group, the NZ AIDS Foundation and an Ethicist.

    The full report of the review can be seen on our web site.

    New Zealand Blood Service has accepted the findings of the report and will be implementing changes to the donor behaviour criteria from 1 March 2009. This will mean that any men who have anal or oral sex with men with or without a condom will be deferred from giving blood for a period of five years.

    For an further independent analysis of the review outcome please take a look at this article published by the NZ AIDS Foundation:

    2. People who have lived in the UK, the Republic of Ireland or France between 1980 and 1996 for a cunulative period of six months or more.

    Variant CJD is a fatal disease for which there is currently no treatment. In the absence of a screening test to detect donors who might be incubating the disease NZBS, in common with other international blood services, has introduced measures to exclude donors who are possibly at increased risk of developing vCJD from donating blood.

    NZBS closely monitors developments relating to vCJD and the actions taken by other international blood services. During the last two years a number of points have emerged from this;

    1) Four cases of probable transfusion related vCJD have been reported in the United Kingdom. This cluster of cases indicates that vCJD must now be considered as a transfusion transmissible infection.

    2) The number of cases of vCJD being diagnosed in the United Kingdom appears to be falling. As of February 2006 a total of 159 cases have been identified in the UK of which 154 have died.

    3) There is increasing evidence that some people may harbour the infection but not develop the disease. Indeed one of the patients believed to have acquired vCJD from transfusion falls into this group. Considerable uncertainty continues to exist in relation to the total number of people infected with the vCJD agent who might remain well and continue to act as donors.

    4) During 2005 the number of cases of vCJD reported outside of the UK increased significantly. The number of new cases in Ireland and France were a particular concern – hence the additionof France and the Republic of Ireland to this exclusion in April 2006.

    5) There have been no cases of vCJD in New Zealand or Australia.

    The issue of vCJD and blood transfusion is regularly reviewed. There is no new information available that would suggest that there will be any change this particular restriction.

  6. Eddie Clark on January 19th, 2009 at 16:13

    Thanks, Anita. Good to know.

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