A petition has been set up on the government’s new e-petitions website to call for the end of the blood donation ban for men who have had gay sex.
The petition, created by student Tom King, has more than 900 signatures at the time of writing and asks MPs to look at introducing new evidence-based criteria on which to screen gay and bisexual donors.
The ban currently prohibits any man who has ever had sex with another man from donating blood. Gay rights campaigners say it is discriminatory, as other groups at high risk of HIV are not subject to a blanket ban.
A review of the policy is underway, with SaBTO, the advisory committee on the safety of blood, tissues, and organs, due to report its findings later this year. Ministers have been unwilling to comment on the issue before the report is released.
The report is expected to suggest a deferral policy, with gay and bisexual men permitted to donate blood after a set period of abstention from gay sex.
Mr King’s petition says that there should be no blanket deferral period solely for gay and bisexual men and that health agencies should bar donors only on the basis of behavioural risk factors.
Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk, he said: “I started the petition because I think that its shameful that such discrimination still exists. The ban also prohibits around three million potentially safe donors from giving blood even though there is a blood shortage.”
He added: “I’d hope that we’re able to reach the 100,000 threshold and have this petition considered for a debate and vote in parliament.
“Its great that we have the opportunity to show the strength of feeling on this issue and hopefully we’ll end up with a National Blood Service which makes decisions based on science not prejudice as a result.”
The e-petitions website launched yesterday but crashed almost as soon as it went live. The most popular petitions relate to capital punishment, the legalisation of cannabis, withdrawing from the EU and keeping Formula 1 free to view.