September 8, 2011
Gay men can now give blood in UK
Men who have sex with other men are no longer banned for life from giving blood.
The Department of Health today announced that the ban on gay men giving blood would be partially lifted.
However, men who have had oral or anal sex with another man – with or without a condom – must still wait 12 months before they can give blood.
Other ‘at risk’ groups who must wait 12 months before giving blood are men who have had sex with prostitutes, men or women who have sex with people who inject drugs, and women who have had sex with men who have ever had sex with other men.
Gay men had been banned from giving blood since the HIV / AIDS crisis of the 1980s.
Various LGBT rights groups including Stonewall, Outrage! and the National Union of Students have campaigned against the blood ban for several years.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive applauds the Department of Health’s decision, but believe that gay and bisexual men still face undue discrimination.
“All those who donate blood should be asked about their sexual behaviour and assessed appropriately,” said Summerskill.
“However under the new rules, a gay man in a monogamous relationship who has only had oral sex will still automatically be unable to give blood but a heterosexual man who has had multiple partners and not worn a condom will not be questioned about his behaviour, or even then, excluded.”
“Safety must remain paramount. However at a time of national shortages in blood, everyone who can give blood at no risk to recipients should be able to donate.
“To retain a blanket ban on any man who has had sex with another man in the last year, even if he has only had oral sex, remains disproportionate on the basis of available evidence.”
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