I am very happy that this time was cut down. It is still a discriminatory policy, but one I feel adequately balances risks with the need to increase blood donations. However, it will still be very hard for the majority of gay men to abstain for an entire year just to donate blood.
It’s about time!
This has been a highly emotional (often irrational) debate that has done nothing but reinforce discriminatory practices.
The illogical argument that only gay men are able to become HIV positive and therefore should be prevented from donating blood will (hopefully) be a thing of the past.
But, should not all people (Men and Women) have abstained from sex for 1 year as a pre condition to blood donation? Surely any sexually active person is capable of contracting this or another sexually transmitted virus??
Hear, hear. Countdown to mad Keith coming on the thread to spout a lot of emotive guff about ‘dirty practices’ utterly irrelevant to whether viruses are transmitted or not.
We all need to remind people like Keith that We and who We are is not up for debate.
Don’t let them hijack these threads for their own bigoitted agenda.
“But, should not all people (Men and Women) have abstained from sex for 1 year as a pre condition to blood donation?”
Are you joking? Then no one would be able to donate blood!
The point of pre-screening donors is to find and remove the ‘high risk’ groups. People who have had tattos are ‘high risk’ for Hepatitis and are deferred for 6 months. People who have travelled to certain Malarial zones are high risk for Malaria and are deferred.
The unfortunate truth is that homosexual men represent a very large proportion of HIV infections. A quick look on Google gave me some US figures saying upward of 50% of new HIV cases in 2007 were in men who had engaged in homosexual activity. Now if the blood service can reduce the possibility of HIV infected blood by 50% simply by deferring one behavioural group then it’s absolutely the right thing to do.
Statistics are not the whole story when it comes to the point of use. If a gay guy who has practised safe-sex and has been in a faithful relationship for over 20 years is told to go away and not make love with his partner for a year, and a straight guy who has been living it up with different girlfriends without protection for the same time or less is waved through, can’t you see the potential disasters?
But in this instance statistics are the whole story. Pre-screening is what makes the blood supply so safe both for the recipients of the blood products and the people who manufacture the blood products prior to mandatory testing being complete. By removing high risk groups blood services around the world have reactive rates of around 1% for any blood borne diseases. And that is because of the broad stroke approach to deferrals. It doesnt matter that the tattoo shop you visited complies with all health and safety regs and uses single use needles, that goup of people are still high risk and are deffered. And likewise it doesnt matter if a staight man uses a condom with a prostitute, that is still a high risk group and they are deffered. And it doesnt matter if a gay man uses a condom and is monogomous (though there is no way to know if their partner is monogomous too) they are still a high risk group and are deffered.
Well said, Kim.
This is good news but having recently read HIV infections in gay men are going up, not down, this doesn’t help our case at all.
Still, making me abstain for a year when I am sensible whilst a straight person can do what the hell they like and donate blood tomorrow…. that isn’t fair.
Nevertheless, we’re moving in the right direction, albeit slowly.
Thank god it’s not 10 years!!
This would still stop me donating because I’m not going to be abstaining from anything but atleast others might.
One thing that confuses me is why we need to abstain at all don’t they screen all the blood anyway?
And what about if your in a monogomous relationship would I be able to donate after a year of that?
The need for abstaining is due to the window period of HIV infection (i.e. the time it takes from coming into contact with the virus through, for example, unprotected sex, to when the amount of virus in the bloodstream is detectable by testing). This is usually 3 months, but the general advice within GUM is that we recommend a second test a further 3 months later to ensure that an individual is definitely HIV negative.
Andrew you are mistaken about the window period for HIV – it is now 4 weeks where antigen / antibody screening can detect the virus.
Both Hep C & B have a much longer window period and this is why the one year period has been agreed on. Many individuals amongst the general population have hep C and dont’t realise it. Hep C may not show symptoms for over 20 years.
Why just the focus on HIV – compared to Hep C and B it is a fragile virus and correct screening and blood treatment makes it unlikely that the blood supply would be contaminated. We should be considering in equal measure all blood borne viruses in this argument.
Also the risk should not be based on sexual orientation, gender or race – it should be based on sexual behaviour. This is a clear case of continued discrimination, but there has been some progress made.
“Also the risk should not be based on sexual orientation, gender or race – it should be based on sexual behaviour. This is a clear case of continued discrimination, but there has been some progress made.”
But this is exactly what they are doing. They dont ask “Do you considder your self homosxual, bi-sexual or heterosexual?” They ask a behaviour question along the lines of “Have you engaged in man to man sexual intercourse?” It is purely behavioural.
And regarding the monogomous relationship, unfortunately it does not count. While you can sign the Donor Declaration to say that YOU have been monogomous, that doesnt mean your partner has been too.
I think the NUS should be very proud if this news story turns out to be the truth. For years they have led the charge against this ban.
This country goes from madness to madness!!
It’s better but still discriminatory. Either we all have to stop having sex for one year or we don’t. Why gay people more than straight people.
Because, like it or not, gay and bisexual men still disproportionally account for new diagnoses of HIV within the UK. The majority of heterosexually acquired cases are as a result of individuals who have acquired HIV in high prevalence areas (such as sub-Saharan Africa) before emigrating to the UK where they are first diagnosed, often after becoming unwell with symptoms of immunosuppression.
That’s not to say things won’t change – I think that we will see a steady rise in HIV infections acquired from heterosexual sexual activity within the UK. But if we don’t face up to the problems in our own community, the situation with gay and bisexual men won’t get any better either.
Welcome news. It means the many Gay people who don’t have risky sex can help save lives.
I guess one year would be fair better but all those who have risky sex should be treated thesame regardless of gender or orientation.
Great move, campagning to keep the blood supply contaminated. Not content with killing yourselves with your filthy perversions, you seek to harm others
How many minutes before this one is deleted too for being too stupid a comment to be allowed shown in public, do you think?
Did you use a condom the last time you slept with a woman? I seriously doubt it being the small minded imbecile you evidently are!
Please refer to my post. If you are 100% heterosexual, which I seriously doubt, then you are less than 1% less likely to have HIV than a gay man!
Time to test Keith.. Calling yourself heterosexual yet still sucking cock in cottages behind your wives back isn’t really “straight” is it!!
This is just the sort of baseless juvenile respone I have come to expect when immoral harmers seek to defend the indefensible.
And yet in other countries that removed the ban the problems with contamination reduced.
You only make assumption based on your own hatred and bigotry and clearly know nothing about facts..
The new ruling is discriminatory towards “so called” high risk groups and populations.
What needs to happen is that more effort must to be put into getting the gay community to make sexual health screening a personal priority. A sexually active gay man or MSM should have a full screen at least once a year, more often if they have multiple sexual partners – its a no brainer!
What are the barriers that are preventing this?
Why are gay men and MSM not taking this responsibility seriously? London and other large cities are not only seeing rising cases of HIV but Hep C.
We need to make a concerted effort to get the 25% of HIV infected gay men diagnosed and treated, as identified in the Fowler report.
As previously mentioned all blood borne viruses must be seen as a threat to the blood supply not just HIV, which in relative terms is a very fragile virus and can be detected at 4 weeks, whereas Hep C & B have much longer window periods.
Perhaps if homosexuals want to be in the less risky category, they can abstain from homosexual sex!
Having said that, myself and Mr Furnish cannot see any reason why we should. We love the chocolate tunnel too much, and we ain’t talking Willy Wonka!
Forgetting all about window periods etc, isn’t it still pertinent to ask the question why only gay men need to abstain from sex for a year before donating?
Statistics clearly show that at least once in the last ten years, heterosexual infection rates where 1% higher than the infection rates for homosexuals!
Gay men are still being discriminated against and we still stand here and take it.
I for one would not give blood purely based on the fact that it hasn’t been good enough in the past and is clearly only good enough now because blood supplies are dangerously low. I would encourage all gay men to stand up for their rights and and refuse to give blood anyway untill policies are the same for homosexuals and heterosexuals.