U.K. to Lift Lifetime Ban on Gay Blood Donors
September 08 2011 7:45 AM ET
England, Scotland, and Wales will lift a lifetime ban on gay men donating blood, a restriction instituted in the 1980s but one not supported by scientific studies on blood supply safety.
The BBC reports that government ministers have agreed to allow men who have sex with men (MSM) to donate if they have not engaged in sexual activity within the past 12 months, effective in November (earlier this year, the U.K. had considered putting a 10-year deferral on MSM blood donation). Northern Ireland is expected to issue its own decision on the matter in the near future.
Citing recent research — including a December article in the journal Transfusion that found no evidence of increased HIV infection risk resulting from a 12-month deferral policy in Australia — the U.K.’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues, and Organs argued earlier this year that the lifetime ban could no longer be scientifically supported.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration’s lifetime ban on MSM donors remains in effect, despite efforts by advocates, blood bank organizations, and lawmakers to overturn it. Last year an advisory committee voted against recommending that the MSM donation policy be changed, though committee members also voted that the current restrictions are “suboptimal” and recommended further research into distinguishing between high- and low-risk donors, regardless of sexual orientation.
Read the BBC report here.
Update: British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell issued the following statement on the blood donation policy change:
"Although the new policy is a big improvement on the existing discriminatory rules, a 12 month ban is still excessive and unjustified. Most gay and bisexual men do not have HIV and will never have HIV. If they always have safe sex with a condom, have only one partner and test HIV negative, their blood is safe to donate. They can and should be allowed to help save lives by becoming donors."
- Holiday Guide: Shop Here, Not There
- Gay News, LGBT Rights, Politics, Entertainment | The Advocate
- WATCH: Jared Leto on Avoiding Trans Character 'Cliché' for 'Dallas Buyers Club'
- New Celeb Couple: Dustin Lance Black and Tom Daley
- Bringing Diversity to the Digital Realm
- Op-ed: Straight Teen Girls Can Change the World
- Women WATCH: Lesbian-Themed Web Series 'Kelsey' - Kelsey Gets All Kinds of Action December 04 2013 8:27 PM
- Travel Out Traveler Awards: Best Cruise Line? December 04 2013 7:42 PM
- Society Making LGBT Spirits Bright This Holiday Season December 04 2013 7:41 PM
- Women PHOTOS: Oxford University's Women's Rugby Club Bares All for Charity December 04 2013 7:25 PM
- Entertainment News Bill Hader Wanted Stefon's Goodbye to Be Emotional December 04 2013 4:50 PM
- Women 13 Reasons to Let AHS: Coven Cast A Spell on You -- in GIFs December 04 2013 4:36 PM
- Sports You Can Play and NFL Team Up With LGBT Youth December 04 2013 3:37 PM