LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

CJEU issue preliminary ruling in French blood donation case

This morning (Wednesday, 29 April 2015), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the imposition by EU member states of blood donation bans for men who have sex with men (MSM) may be justified, depending on the situation in each individual member state.

In situations where criteria for blood donations are only based on sexual orientation, this undoubtedly amounts to discrimination and reinforces stigmatisation. With this in mind, ILGA-Europe does agree with the CJEU’s statement in Leger (Case C-528/13) that the principle of proportionality might not be respected by a permanent ban on men who have sex with men from giving blood.

In light of today’s judgment, we urge French authorities to look at alternatives to lifetime restrictions. It is imperative that measures restricting blood donation focus exclusively on the behaviours and practices of prospective blood donors and not on their sexual orientation.

“Stigmatisation does not equate to proper management of blood donations” said ILGA-Europe Senior Policy and Programmes Officer Sophie Aujean. “Candidates for blood donations are more likely to act responsibly and will not give blood if national health authorities explain publicly that they will only focus on the candidates’ practices and not on sexual orientation and if they explain clearly what the risks are.”

The question of blood donation is masking the core issue which is that HIV-AIDS prevention needs to be a priority across Europe. National governments need to adopt effective public policies and strategies to respond effectively to the HIV epidemic.