Recommends To The Government The Adoption Of Measures To Combat The Current Discrimination Against Homosexuals And Bisexuals In The Blood Collection Services

Original Language Title: Recomenda ao Governo a adopção de medidas que visem combater a actual discriminação dos homossexuais e bissexuais nos serviços de recolha de sangue

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Group MOTION for a RESOLUTION paragraph 13/XI Recommends to the Government the adoption of measures to combat the current discrimination against homosexuals and bisexuals in the blood collection services in our country, male homosexuals are subjected to unjustified discrimination in blood donation. This discrimination was widely contested by the homosexual population and by the associations which represent, as well as by several associations of health professionals and to fight HIV/AIDS.

In fact, the Decree-Law No. 267/2007, of July 24, Part B, concerning the information that must be provided by donors to blood establishments, stipulates, in line with Directive 2004/33/EC of 22 March 2004, that must be provided to «clinic and medical history, through a questionnaire and a personal interview with a qualified health professional including relevant factors likely to contribute to the identification and exclusion of persons whose donation could present a risk to the health of third parties, such as the possibility of transmitting diseases, or a risk to your own health». For your time, the same Decree sets out, in annex VII, among the criteria for permanent suspension of homologous donations donors, sexual behavior that put individuals in great risk of contracting serious infectious diseases which can be transmitted by blood».

This guidance focuses on therefore risk behaviour, and not the outdated and biased "risk groups". However, there are still several blood collection services that include in their questionnaires explicitly homophobic questions, one example being the Hospital de Santo António in Oporto, that includes in your 12th issue the following formulation: "If you're a man: have you ever had sex with another man?".

In response to the question by Mr John Sandoval, of the left-wing Bloc about this situation, was issued a letter from the Office of the Minister of health, July 2009, which confirms the exclusion of potential male blood donors who claim to have sexual relations with other men, arguing that it is ' only a control over the risk behaviour of donors, which can be seen by the fact of female homosexuals to be accepted as such '. This advisory entrenches this position with the need to comply with European directives that point towards the exclusion of homosexual male potential donors.

In practice, this announcement may, however, that male homosexuals are simply banned from giving blood, whether, or not, sexual risk behaviours, that is exactly what has happened in medical institutions as the Hospital of St. John and St. Anthony Hospital, both in Porto, in the Portuguese Institute of Lisbon and the Portuguese Institute of Oncology as reported in the newspaper Público. On the other hand, have been published cases of discrimination of homosexuals, including the female potential donor that performed at the Hospital de Santo António in Oporto, who was denied the practice of blood donation.

Known is also the position of the head of Portuguese Blood Institute (IPS), Gabriel Olim, who believes that accept blood of a homosexual is introducing "tainted blood" in the system, that put the President of IPS to the lowest level of ignorance and prejudice. Still in 2007, Gabriel Olim justified the discrimination to which they are subject the potential donors homosexuals through so-called ' statistical criteria ' and stated that ' all that matters is the tranquility and safety of who will receive the blood ' and that ' the Portuguese are unbiased '. Already on 30 July 2009, the IPS said, Reuters news, that "when a person is presented openly as a homosexual and want to give blood, I interpret it as provocation. Who wants to come donate blood does not come with this attitude ".

Have been several voices of disagreement with regard to the criteria adopted by IPS.

The National Coordinator for the infection HIV/AIDS, Henrique Barros, defended, at a press conference of June 14 2007, ' selective screening models, by steps, based on characteristics of individuals linked to their personal choices or lifestyles, without reference to biological markers, are scientifically invalid, promote waste and lead inevitably to discrimination and stigma. So, there's no sense in deleting donors based on your sexual orientation.»

Also the Chairman of the order of Doctors, Pedro Nunes, face exclusion of potential male blood donors to declare same-sex relationships as ' discrimination ' that ' makes no sense '.

On the other hand, the invocation was made about an alleged international uniformity of this guidance and this discriminatory question also does not correspond to the reality. According to declarations by the European Commissioner for health, Androulla Vassiliou, «there is no special rule to cover homosexuals. This is a myth. The concern is always the safety and quality of blood '.

Indeed, the latest European directives does not advise such discrimination. Countries like Spain and Italy for some time they removed homosexuality from the list of factors of exclusion, without ever having registered any increase in the incidence of infections in blood collected.

The decision by the health technicians, to exclude the gay blood donors is abusive and discriminatory vis-à-vis explicitly applicable legislation. The assumption of homosexuality as deviant sexual behavior, which puts individuals ' risk of contracting serious infectious diseases which can be transmitted by blood», has no scientific basis.

This type of ignorance and ignorance led to the identification of HIV/AIDS as a disease of homosexual stereotype that, today, faced with the alarming numbers of infection among heterosexuals, according to infected Group (37.5%), is deeply upset. It was this same stereotype, fueled by ignorance and discrimination, which dictated this same proliferation of the disease among heterosexual and, and is the same ignorance and discrimination it is necessary to fight, for the sake of public health and of Justice and social equality, they weren't all citizens, according to the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic (CRP), equal before the law, and sexual orientation recognised as a factor of non-discrimination.

In the previous Parliament, the left-wing Block presented in Parliament a draft resolution intended to put an end to this discrimination, and it was hammered by the Socialist Party with the argument that this discrimination did not exist. Today we know that it exists and, in a context in which you want to remove the discriminatory barriers relating to homosexual citizens, would be unacceptable to keep these criteria.

The IPS, while indirect State Government body, responsible for coordinating and directing at the national level, all the activities related to the transfusion of blood from the harvest to the Administration, has the responsibility to ensure that they are not applied any arbitrary exclusion criteria on blood donation based on donor's sexual orientation and that, on the contrary, are guaranteed the most stringent criteria to safeguard the health of recipients of donated blood.

Thus, in accordance with the rules and the Constitutional Assembly of the Republic, gathered in plenary session, decides to recommend to the Government: the adoption of measures to combat the current discrimination against homosexuals and bisexuals in the blood collection services, in particular through:-The immediate requirement of reformulation of all questionnaires containing homophobic statements, in particular with regard to issues relating to the practice of sexual relations between men;
-The development and dissemination of a normative document of the sole responsibility of the Ministry of health, which expressly prohibits discrimination and of donors/the blood based on your sexual orientation and clarify the criteria for suspension of donors are based on the existence of risk behaviour and not on the existence of risk groups.

São Bento Palace, 10 November 2009. The Members and members of left-wing Block