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Blood ban on gay men to be reviewed

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Reader comments

  1. Nick Henderson 12 Mar 2009, 2:12pm

    LGBT Network have been calling for this since we raised it at Scottish Parliament last year. We presented an array of evidence from around the world that showed it is not protecting the saftey of blood by having a blanket ban on gay and bi men and allowing all straight people to donate no matter who they had sex with and when.

    Our evidence we presented to parliament is available here and you can see for yourself how a change in the criteria is best to keep blood products safe.

    Unlike Stonewall and others, this ban cannot just be seen as discrimination. No one has a right to be a blood donor, but those who are allowed to donate blood have a responsibility to practice safe sex. We know many many gay and bi men do, and many, many straight men do not.

    Therefore to make blood as safe as possible, the donor eligibility should be based on factors such as when was the last time a person had unprotected sex or sex with a new partner and when did the person last have an HIV test. An HIV negative man who is having safe sex with another man is prevented from donating, yet a straight man who had unprotected sex with a woman he KNEW to be HIV + can donate after a year.

    This is part of a larger need for us to look again at HIV. As we showed in our evidence to parliament, the majority of new infections are from heterosexual people. HIV is something we all must think about, we all must protect ourselves and we all must get tested, regularly.

    Reviewing the donor eligibility criteria for blood donations is an important first step in creating a new attitude to HIV that is based on facts not fear, and this review is a good move towards that.

  2. What bugs me about the exclusions is that if you are a gay man you can NEVER give blood but if you’ve recently had sex with a prostitute you should wait a year then donate. WTF!

  3. I choose to side with statistical evidence, and agree that men who have sex with men should not be eligible to donate blood.

  4. Nick Henderson 12 Mar 2009, 7:35pm

    What is the statistical evidence that proves that Jamie?

  5. I think that there is no such thing as gay men being at a higher risk of transmitting HIV/Aids that a heterosexual couple, if anything gay men in my opinion are more HIV and Aids aware than the heterosexual community. I think everyone should be risk assessed in their own personal circumstance rather than blanket banning people. By banning gay people you don’t do anything to discourage those who would lie on their form to donate blood therefore increasing the risk for recipients. All blood should be tested to the highest standard regardless of sexual orientation.

  6. Jaime the only way to keep the blood supply free from things is to ban anybody who has sex. Also, you are obviously a straight jerk, uneducated, or just stupid (pick one, I am voting all the above).

  7. Karl Rosenqvist 13 Mar 2009, 10:10am

    Here in Sweden, a simliar review was made a few years ago and the answer came back that gay and bi men could donate blood. If the ban was to hold you logically had to include a LOT more people and blood-donations would fall.
    Turns out the real problem is that county hospitals sell blood-plasma to medical-companys and THEY won’t accept it if gays can donate.

  8. Karl Rosenqvist 13 Mar 2009, 10:17am

    A similar review here in Sweden a few years ago by the Department of Health turned out that there was no reason to ban gay and bi men from donating blood unless you altered the rules to include a lot more riskgroups which would greatly reduce the donations.
    Still we’re banned because, get this, county hospitals SELL blood-plasma to forreign medical-companies and THEY won’t accept gay blood.
    It’s just possible we’re barking up the wrong tree on this one >:(

  9. I hope this homophobic policy will disappear. There’s more chance of HIV being present in blood from a donor of African origin. This wouldn’t be an issue at all if blood was actually screened properly.

  10. I go with Jamie: and Nick Henderson, the statistical proof is there is a higher proportion of gay men than straight ones contracting HIV. It’s as simple as that. The trouble is, as usual, gay men want their cake and eat it, they shag about promiscuously, and often unprotected, but start bleating and squealing accusations of exclusion when they are obviously a high risk factor.

    Sorry, but I wouldn’t want a blood transfusion from a gay donor, (or for that matter, an intravenous drug user) and I very much doubt the risk will ever change.

  11. HIV does NOT cause AIDs is the view of ‘AIDs Fact or Fraud’ from ebay. Buy it, educate yourselves. HIV linked to AIDS is US government propaganda created to fuel hysteria and fund the vast federal research industry.

  12. Well said, RightOn.

    Nick, contact the NHSBT and ask their number crunchers for statistics on the number of samples infected with HIV around the time that the decision was made to disallow MSM to donate blood. The majority of infected donations were from men who had sex with men. As I’m sure you are aware, many patients given blood transfusions in the 80s have now died due to AIDS related illnesses.

    I don’t think gay men are complaining because they so passionately care about the wellbeing of others and what a difference their blood could make to another person’s life. They are complaining for the sake of complaining. Crying homophobia. Rather than donating blood why not donate time? You can volunteer for the National Blood Service.

  13. I know it’s late, but I thought I’d reply anyway.

    Jamie, you are making a sweeping generalization there. I’m a registered organ donor and I wanted to go a step further in helping people and decided to donate blood. This was before I found out that, having sex with a male over two years ago meant that I wasn’t eligible to donate blood.

    Now, on the form it says if you’ve had unprotected sex with a woman in a high risk area, you have to wait a year. Where is the logic in that?

    A man has protected sex with another man two years ago, POTENTIALLY contracting HIV. Lifetime ban.
    A man has unprotected sex with a woman in the last 12 months. 12 month ban.

    To me, they’re both exactly the same.

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