The top court in Brazil on May 8 ruled the country’s ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood is unconstitutional.
Reuters reported seven of the 11 judges who sit on the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled in favor of lifting the ban, which prohibited MSM from donating blood for 12 months. The issue had been before the Supreme Court since 2016.
Aliança Nacional LGBTI+, a Brazilian LGBTQ advocacy group, described the ruling as “historic.”
The Supreme Court issued its ruling against the backdrop of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month eased restrictions for MSM who want to donate blood. The new policy allows them to become blood donors if they have not had sex with another man for three months, as opposed to 12 months under the previous policy that had been in effect since 2015.
Chile and Italy are among the countries that allow MSM to donate blood without a deferral period.
Statistics from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center indicate there are 163,510 confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil, and 11,207 deaths. Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Ceará and Amazonas are among the states with the most coronavirus cases.
Brazil has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Latin America. President Jair Bolsonaro — who has been sharply criticized for his rhetoric against LGBTQ Brazilians, women and other underrepresented groups — has downplayed the pandemic’s threat to his country and spoken out against measures designed to curb its spread.