Mexico lifts gay and bisexual blood donor ban
A little noticed Mexican health norm first approved in August and then published in the country's regulatory Official Federation Diary on October 26th has gone into effect today essentially doing away with a two-decade ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, reports Animal Político. The old norm (NOM 003-SSA2) explicitly banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood based on their "practices" and their "increased probability of acquiring HIV or hepatitis infection". The new norm (NOM 253) eliminates specific bans on gay and bisexual men and instead bans blood donations from people with HIV or hepatitis and their partners and people who engage in "risky sexual practices" regardless of their sexual identity. In the new blood donor norms "risky sexual practices" are defined as those that may include "contact or exchange of blood, sexual secretions or other bodily secretions between someone who might have a transmittable disease and areas of another person's body through which an infectious agent might be able to penetrate." The United States and a number of Latin American countries which include Argentina, Chile and Colombia have been mulling lifting similar longstanding bans that have been in effect since the HIV/AIDS crisis broke through decades ago.