Gay men can now freely donate blood in Israel
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Gay men can now freely donate blood in Israel

Participants marching in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, June 9, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — In a policy change, gay men will be allowed to freely donate blood in Israel.

Under the new procedure announced Wednesday by the Health Ministry and Magen David Adom, the blood will be checked for certain infectious diseases at the time of donation, and then frozen for four months and checked again in a special double testing system.

Last year, Israel’s Health Ministry announced that gay men could donate blood provided that a year had passed since their last sexual encounter with a man. That was challenged by gay rights groups in Israel.

Knesset lawmaker Meirav Ben-Ari of the Kulanu party worked with the Israel Aids Task Force and Israel’s LGBT Task Force to craft the new testing system, which is being implemented for a two-year trial period.

The United States requires gay male blood donors to have been celibate for 12 months before donating.