UK's ban on gay blood donations could soon be removed
The lifelong ban stopping gay men from donating blood in the UK could soon be lifted, after latest research has revealed such strict rules are no long justifiable.
A number of countries have already relaxed their regulations on blood donations from gay men and have reported no increased risk of an infection of HIV from transfusions using their blood.
In South Africa there has to be a six month lapse since a men last had sex with a man before he can give blood and in Australia, Sweden and Japan there has to be a gap of 12 months.
The most recent research has come from Australian authorities and has shown there is “no significant increase in the risk of HIV infection.”
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As a result, the UK’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs is now saying “the evidence does not support the continuation of the ban.”
It added, “The evidence supports a 12 month deferral period since last occurrence, to be introduced for men who have had oral or anal sex with another man, whether a condom or other protective was used or not.”
The rules forbidding gay men to give blood in the UK have been in place since the 1980s and were introduced as an attempt to combat the AIDS epidemic.
Meanwhile, a similar ban in the US which has been active since 1977 is also being reviewed.
Elsewhere, some countries judge donors eligibility to give blood on the safeness of their sexual activity, as opposed to the gender of their partner.
This has been the method used in Spian, Poland and Italy for a number of years and they have found the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS as a result of blood transfusion has in fact decreased.
A statement issued by Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s largest HIV/AIDS charity, read: “We believe any decision on the safety of the blood supply must be based on evidence and not on political lobbying or framing of it as purely an equalities issue.”