• Members of the transgender community, moved the Supreme Court seeking to strike down the prohibition on gay and transgender people donating blood in the country.
  • The Centre justified their exclusion by asserting that their inclusion in the “at-risk” category for HIV, Hepatitis B, or C infections is premised on scientific evidence.
  • The ban on blood donations by gay people was introduced in the 1980s.

The Guidelines:

  • In India, the ‘Guidelines for Blood Donor Selection & Blood Donor Referral, 2017’ mandates the donor to be:
  • free from diseases that are transmissible by blood transfusion, and
  • not at risk for HIV, Hepatitis B or C infections, such as transgender, gay people, and female sex workers among others.
  • The fitness of the individual for blood donation is determined by the medical officer.
  • It permanently defers those at risk for HIV infection, including gay and transgender people, from donating blood in the country.
  • Issuing authority:
  • These guidelines were issued by the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) and the National Aids Control Organisation in 2017.

Aim of the guidelines:

  • These guidelines were approved in an attempt to bring in a Blood Transfusion Service which offers a safe, sufficient and timely supply of blood and blood components to those in need.
  • Challenge to the guidelines:
  • The constitutional validity of these clauses have been challenged.
  • They violate Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India to the extent they exclude transgender persons, men having sex with men and female sex workers from being blood donors.

International rules:

United States

  • Originally, gay and transgender men were completely prohibited from donating blood, owing to the AIDS crisis in the United States in the 1970s and the 80s.
  • It was in 2015 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced a deferral period of a year for people belonging to the community.
  • This meant that any man would have been able to donate blood if they have not had sex with another man in the past 12 months.

United Kingdom

  • The United Kingdom has adopted a FAIR (For the Assessment of Individualised Risk) approach towards people from the LGBT+ community who wish to donate blood.
  • It assesses eligibility to give blood based solely on one’s “individual experiences”.


  • In 2011 the governing body introduced deferrals of not more than 10 years and not less than five years since last sexual contact.
  • Through the years, the body has reduced deferrals from five years to one (2016), and from a year to three months (2019).


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