"According to the new policy, mobile blood centres should have started accepting lesbian donors from Sunday," the official said. The director of Common Language, an NGO dedicated to supporting lesbians and bisexuals, nicknamed Xian, said that she applauded the amendment and is planning to coordinate members of the NGO to donate blood. Xian did not know lesbians were barred from giving blood until after the earthquake in Sichuan Province in 2008, when she was told she could not donate blood. "It's scientific that the policy doesn't mention homosexual identity but only fences off some who have certain sex behaviours, because AIDS is not caused by one's homosexual identity but improper sexual behaviour," Xian said.
A sexologist Li Yinhe said that as China learnt about AIDS and homosexuality at roughly the same time, in the 1980s, "the nation easily believed that being a homosexual equates to AIDS." "Inadequate understanding of the two things is the main reason why 'homosexuals' was listed as a group not allowed to donate blood, as a way to prevent the spread of AIDS," Li said. The first case of AIDS in China occurred in 1985 when an Argentine visitor, also an AIDS patient, died during a trip to the country, according to Li.
"Judging from the amendment, the country's views on homosexuals and AIDS has progressed," Li said, noting that gay men were still thought of as a high-risk group for AIDS transmission, but lesbians are a low-risk group.