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United Kingdom to lift lifetime ban on gay, bisexual men donating blood

Friday, September 9, 2011

The United Kingdom will become the latest country to lift the ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, relaxing a policy that officials said does not improve the safety of the blood supply.

Ministers in England, Scotland and Wales have agreed to let men who have not had sex with another man in the past 12 months to donate, beginning in November. Northern Ireland will follow suit soon.

The restrictions were put in place in the 1980s to prevent the risk of HIV contamination.

However, the latest medical evidence presented to a government panel argued the ban could no longer be justified.

Ministers in the three countries accepted the argument and said they would be relaxing the rules. Northern Ireland is expected to make a decision soon.

The move follows a report by the government’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs, which said the lifetime ban was no longer justifiable.

Other countries, including Australia, Japan, South Africa, Sweden and New Zealand, also allow gay men to donate blood under similar restrictions.

Canada and the United States still prohibit gay men from donating blood.

The bans were imposed in the 1980′s, amidst the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

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28 more reader comments:

  1. now the US just needs to do the same

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:18am
  2. I really don’t give a shit – at this point, I wouldn’t sell them my blood – well, maybe if the price was right.

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:18am
  3. ??? You mean it was once illegal?? Do people seriously think they can ‘catch the gay’?????? o_O Mind boggling…

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:18am
  4. YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS finally

    I was outraged when i couldnt give blood about 3 months ago but now i can :)…

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:19am
  5. America is now… even further behind by about 35 years.

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:19am
  6. Seth, they were concerned about HIV, cause you know only gay people have it… :P

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:19am
  7. Way to go UK alright!

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:20am
  8. My mom used to donate blood, and as far as I knew, everyone is tested before you can give blood. So if they were already testing *everyone*, then gays wouldn’t ever have to have been excluded.

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:21am
  9. Oh yeah totally only the gays have it

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:21am
  10. Yes but to still qualify no sex for 12 months

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:22am
  11. Complete sarcasm by the way

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:22am
  12. Baby steps…

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:23am
  13. We have to stay celibate for a year in order to donate blood? LOL … If you really want to donate blood, just LIE … as long as you know your HIV status, as long as you KNOW you’re negative, it’s a sickening shame that we’d have to stay celibate in order to donate blood. What is so wrong about gay people donating blood? Seriously. I’m HIV negative, I’ve had two tests in the last 3 months, both are negative. I haven’t been intimate with a man in 4 months. But, I still can’t donate blood. WTF is wrong with this picture?

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:23am
  14. Maybe the US could take the hint…

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:26am
  15. I have a hard time thinking about this kinda thing. Cause if my blood could save someones life and they don’t want it cause I love a man… I mean really who has the bigger problem ill keep my blood. Its so silly when u think of it. It just kinda hurts a persons feelings to know someone would rather die instead of letting a gay person help.

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:27am
  16. well now it is canada’s chance to change so i can donate :D

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:28am
  17. I don’t feel its a victory if its based on a yr of celibacy. Anyone can have blood affected by 1 thing or another. Don’t they test blood before giving it to a patient anyway?

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:34am
  18. I still donate cause I know I’m definitely negative. So, just lie (: You save people and no one has issues :D

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:35am
  19. YAY! I can donate….now just to get over my fear of needles >_>

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:44am
  20. Until only recently, if you had gotten a tattoo or piercing you had to wait a year from when you got it to donate blood again, so the year of celibacy thing isn’t really that surprising.

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:52am
  21. That’s crazy. My mind just does not compute the stupidity of not accepting a gay person’s life saving blood if they’ve had sex within the past year??? Everyone knows that straight people may be HIV positive, so there is absolutely no safety in denying people who’ve had sex, for heaven sake! Are they afraid that the patient may become GAY? Give me a frickin’ break. When my husband needed many units of blood, we certainly didn’t care if the person who donated it was gay or straight. We were just so thankful that someone cared enough to save lives.

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:57am
  22. They were barely strict on the law, and I see people criticising the UK, sorry but if the UK is oh so bad, what’s America?

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 8:28am
  23. America never will.. and they test the blood for aids so what is the big deal anyways!!!!????

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 8:42am
  24. Yesterday LifeStream (our blood donor) called me and told me that they were low on blood and when I told them I was gay they told me Im not allowed to give anymore…

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 9:21am
  25. Lol, wow, I am so sick and tired of this shit happening. 12 months, really? Are you fucking kidding me?

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 9:33am
  26. For those who don’t know all the facts, yes the policy actually made sense at one point because HIV/AIDS is more rapidly transmissible among gay/bi men. Now that we have had time to see how the disease behaves as a pandemic, we can update protocols to match our best information to date.

    You might think it sounds terrible at first, but when you understand the whole picture it does grudgingly make sense. This is coming from a firm LGBT advocate with a good deal of medical experience.

    Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 9:59am
  27. I’m glad the UK is lifting the ban. However, wouldn’t it make more sense just to test people, regardless of sexuality, for HIV and AIDS first before giving blood?

    Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 3:44pm
  28. @Jordan: I live in the UK. It may not be as bad as the US, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t bad in general. No country is perfect.

    Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 3:47pm