On World Blood Donor Day on 14 June 2012, Marisol Touraine, the French Minister for Social Affairs and Health, announced that blood donor selection criteria are to be reviewed in the near future. The minister is considering abolishing the current permanent contraindication covering men who have sex with men (MSM) and replacing it with a contraindication based on the criterion of “multiple relationships and sexual partners, whatever the sexual orientation and gender”.

The French National AIDS Council welcomes the announced review and is delighted that criteria that are not based on sexual orientation but instead on practices, situations and types of behaviour that present a proven risk of HIV/AIDS transmission will be taken into account in the future.

Although donating blood is not a right, as reiterated in the 2000s by the National Consultative Bioethics Committee and the French Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Commission, the exclusion of MSM donors may have been seen as discriminatory and stigmatising. Consequently, changes to the regulations in force must be subject to a broad-based consultation.

Whatever the final decision, the National AIDS Council wishes to reiterate the need to continue providing patients with a guarantee that blood products are safe.