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SNP condemns gay blood ban

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  1. I applaud our Scottish friends – clearly they are more evolved than we in England. If the Blood Banks want to be full they need to not alienate people prepared to donate – Test ALL blood donations rather than discriminate against people who are easy targets for discrimination – Remember that of the 33 million plus people living with the virus only a fraction are Gay – Target the unfaithful, ignorant hetrosexuals who claim that marriage is their sacred right despite abusing it at every reckless opportunity.

    1. concernedresidentE3 24 Oct 2011, 4:04pm

      its been said a million times but nobody seems to listen: testing every single batch of blood is not an option as it would drive up the cost of transfusion to a totally unaffordable level. The gay (and african, and IV drug user and recipient of previous transfusion) ban is a pragmatic and sensible safeguard that ensures our bloods are some of the safest in the world. The SNP know they can tubthump in a populist manner on it without any comeback as they have no power to legislöate on this.-

      1. Health is a devolved issue.

      2. Being pragmatic, I listen to scientific advice – much the same as the health authorities in Spain, Latvia and Italy have and they have all changed their blood donation stances on gay men and had to change in infection risk from audited statistics …

        If you really want to reduce risk, then ban all promiscuous 16-40 year olds from donating blood …. how do you identify them?

        Strangely, how do you identify the gay people who are risky?

        So why is it appropriate to ban all gay men on the risk factor if its not appropriate to ban all 16-40 year olds???

        1. Correction

          had no change in infection risk ….

        2. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 8:29am

          I totally agree with removing high risk groups from blood donation. However this constant “They are allowed to do it so why shouldn’t we?” straw man argument is utter bollocks. Gay men are a high risk group: FACT. There are others, and they should be equally restricted.

          Part of the screening process IS this elimination. Clinical testing is not infallible. For those of you that are uncertain of you your HIV status, I simply ask, “Would you want to be the one to tell somebody they have contracted HIV from a donation when it could have been prevented?”

          1. Dr Robin Guthrie 25 Oct 2011, 10:12am

            Speak for your self.

          2. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 12:04pm

            “Doctor” Robin:
            I do, frequently. I am a zero risk candidate for blood donation, and I still wouldn’t out of principle.

      3. Rubber Ducky 24 Oct 2011, 4:37pm

        this is not true in the UK all donated blood nowadays ARE tested “Every donation is tested for hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis C antibody and RNA, HIV antibody, HTLV antibody, and syphilis antibody. Tests for antibodies to malaria, T. cruzi and for West Nile virus RNA may be used when travel may have exposed a donor to risk of these infections”

        http://www.transfusionguidelines.org/?Publication=HTM&Section=9&pageid=1147

        i am however unaware if this is down to legislation however but suspect not

      4. According to NHS Blood and Transplant they do test every donation:

        http://www.blood.co.uk/video-audio-leaflets/information-leaflets/tests-on-your-blood/

        Surely MSMs, although representing an increase in the cost of testing, wouldn’t drive the cost to a “totally unaffordable level” considering they wouldn’t represent a massive percenatge increase in the number of donors. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, apologies if so.

        There’s nothing pragmatic or sensible about banning any MSM from donating blood regardless of how safe their sexual practices are but allowing donations from heterosexual men and women with much riskier behaviour. That’s the bone of contention.

        1. concernedresidentE3 24 Oct 2011, 5:35pm

          they test for antibodies and NOT virus. Antibody screening has been shown time and time again to be an unreliable way to identify the newly infected, which is why they take out risk groups altogether. Testing for virus itself is expensive which is why we dod not do it.

          1. You are correct concernedresidentE3

            Can you address the questions I raise above?

          2. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 8:33am

            Stu: Can you adress mine? Why are, for instance, Sub-Saharan Africans not banned?
            Answer: There would be screams from all the lefties accusing the NHS of racism, that’s why. It’s pathetic.

          3. @Spanner1960

            If you really want to remove anyone who is a potential risk then, in theory, you could provide an argument for removal of all of the following:

            All people aged 14-40
            All sex workers
            All gay men
            Anyone who has ever used recreational drugs
            All people who work in invasive surgery
            Those who work in diagnostic laboratories
            All Sub Saharan Africans
            People who were in San Fransisco in the early 1980s
            etc etc

            Would you remove all these people? Absolutely not, why not – because the risk associated with each group is minute – the risk is not with a stereotype but with an indivodual

            If indeed we removed all these groups (and potentially many more) who would we get blood from …

            The point of risk is managing risk and mitigating for it … that is not done effectively if we put in blanket bans that are based on irrational, prejudiced and unscientific advice

          4. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 2:35pm

            Stu: Sex workers are already banned.
            as are:
            Ever had syphilis, HTLV (Human T – lymphotropic virus), hepatitis B or C or think you may have hepatitis now
            Ever injected yourself with drugs – even once.
            Having given blood in the last 12 weeks (normally, you must wait 16 weeks).
            You have a chesty cough, sore throat or active cold sore.
            Taking antibiotics or you have just finished a course within the last seven days or have had any infection in that last two weeks.
            Had hepatitis or jaundice in the last 12 months.
            Had a tattoo, semi-permanent make up or any cosmetic treatments that involves skin piercing in the last 4 months.
            Have had acupuncture in the last 4 months.
            A member of your family has suffered with CJD (Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease).
            You’ve ever received human pituitary extract.
            Received blood or think you may have received blood during the course of any medical treatment or procedure anywhere in the world since 1st January 1980.

            Call it discrimination if you must…

          5. @Spanner1960

            Are you being deliberately obtuse?

            Some of those exclusions are completely justifed … eg a known diagnosis of hepatitis, a current cough/cold etc etc

            They are risk factors based on the individual

            If you want to reduce all supposed “risk groups”, are you going to introduce a ban on 16-40 year old heterosexuals who are promiscuous … how do you identify them – strange has to be a self declaration …. so otherwise you ban all 16-40 year olds – shock horror, you cant because thats prejudiced … exactly the same as banning all gay men

            NOT ALL GAY MEN ARE A RISK – to suggest so is prejudicial, lacks any sicentific acumen and bears no relation to blood safety

          6. Spanner1960 31 Oct 2011, 4:06pm

            Stu:
            Try and insure a 17yo new driver and see what the premium is.
            I’m sure some 17yo’s are totally safe and responsible, but obviously the statistics demonstrate that the majority are not.
            QED:, *ALL* 17yo’s have to pay through the nose if they want to drive.
            Gay men and HIV are an identical situation. I am sure there are many totally safe people, but it is difficult, nay impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff, so we slap a blanket ban on everyone. I may not seem fair, but rather a bunch of disgruntled queens than innocent people infected with potentially terminal diseases.

          7. @Spanner1960

            Fortunately the clinicians and scientists who advise the Italian, Latvian and Spanish health authorities see that a blanket ban is both prejudiced and lacks sophistication in handling this important public health issue.

            They have brought in much more rigorous regime, with fewer blanket coverages and had no detrimental effect of infection rates of those receiving blood transfusions.

            Your blinkered view does nothing to address these facts.

            Nor does it address why if you believe that blanket bans bring safety that 16-40 year olds are not all blanketly banned from donating blood.

      5. Jock S. Trap 12 Nov 2011, 11:52am

        Oh dear, do try and keep up with the times.

    2. Miguel Sanchez 25 Oct 2011, 3:43pm

      You’re spot on JohnD. It’s times like this I’m sad to claim my Scotish heritage. ALL blood donations MUST be tested.

  2. Well done Scotland!
    You know there’s a problem when a gay man can have sex with a condom and be banned from giving blood, yet a straight man can sleep with a hooker bareback and still be allowed to donate

    1. GingerlyColors 25 Oct 2011, 3:35am

      I must correct you there. The Nationtial Blood Transfusion Service asks people who have had sex with a prostitute (bareback or condom) not to donate blood.

      1. “I must correct you there. The Nationtial Blood Transfusion Service asks people who have had sex with a prostitute (bareback or condom) not to donate blood.”
        You didn’t prove me wrong as they can still give blood but are asked not to.
        A gay man in the same situation would be acting illegally and would be prevented from donating.

        1. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 8:03pm

          Donating blood without divulging your circumstances may be irresponsible, but it is not illegal. I think the term “asked not to” is simply a polite way of saying “thanks, but no thanks.”

    2. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 8:34am

      Whatever you say, the statistic prove otherwise.

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 25 Oct 2011, 10:13am

        No matter which way you look at its still discrimination.

        1. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 12:06pm

          Who is to say discrimination is necessarily a bad thing?
          That’s like saying pubs discriminate against children, or police discriminate against drug dealers.

          If the ends justify the means and it saves people’s lives, then go ahead and discriminate.

          1. You are talking absolute tosh Spanner1960

          2. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 2:02pm

            Why is it tosh? You would no more have sex someone without a condom, so why should other people expect to receive blood from potentially infected donors? This is just Russian roulette, you you know it. You just hide behind your leftie politically correct “us poor gays” rhetoric instead of looking at the bigger picture for once.

          3. Is a gay man who is in a long term committed relationship with one partner – both monogamous – both tested on two or more occasions at the start of their relationship, and occasional follow up checks and confirmed repeatedly negative (at that snap shot in time) a particular risk?

            No

            Is a 16-25 year old girl who has slept with 15 men in the past 3 weeks with protection, a risk?

            Marginally and potentially

            Yet, the gay men are refused to give blood yet the girl is not …

            Your attitude to risk is wrong because its individuals that cause risk not groups of people

          4. Keith Farrell 26 Oct 2011, 9:50am

            So does this mean that if your life depended on receiving blood and the only person with your blood type is gay that you would rather die. we are not talking about drug dealers or children drinking or smoking here, we are talking about something which can save a life. personally I would rater receive blood from a resposible gay person than someone reckless

        2. Absolutely Dr Guthrie it is discrimination

          If people would actually bother to read the scientific evidence and understand that the risk is with individuals and not generic groupings and that measures can be put in place to mitigate against risk, they would see the discrimination is blatant

          Perhaps some people just want to be victims …

          1. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 2:04pm

            Perhaps people want to be safe first, and equal afterwards.

          2. Perhaps some people already are safe and understandly feel affronted at the inequality which is not scientifically based

          3. Jock S. Trap 12 Nov 2011, 11:54am

            Spanner…

            Prehaps people want to be saved and not die. The faith you have in nurse is noted, you don’t trust them or blood banks to do their job properly but seriously if you don’t want any blood to save your life fair enough, just die but stop scaremongering when you have no reliable evidence or knowledge.

          4. Jock S. Trap 12 Nov 2011, 11:55am

            Exactly Stu!!

      2. No they dont

  3. Yet again, the SNP continue to surprise me …

    They are becoming more and more a pro-gay party …

    Need to deal with the likes of Cunningham, Bill Watson and Souter though …

    Good on the SNP – keep it coming …

    1. Rubber Ducky 24 Oct 2011, 4:53pm

      it is indeed strange to see how pro-gay they are becoming, its like they say the only thing thats constant is change, somtimes for the worse but also somtimes for the better, i would say currently the majority of their change apears to be the latter.

  4. Well done the SNP! Let’s just hope that it goes beyond a conference motion now. The SNP has a majority in the Scottish Parliament so they can pursue any policy the party membership feels is important enough.

    1. I hope they do pursue it too …. should be a relatively simple bill to pursue …

      They do have a majority (although would they use a whip on this?) … if not, could you count on Watson, Cunningham etc?

      Although there should be cross party support for such a bill from Greens, some Labour, some Lib Dems and some Conservatives (or whatever they are calling themselves today)

  5. This does seem very progressive indeed! I would love for the ban to be lifted. Driving into work today there was an announcement on the radio saying there was a shortage of my blood group. I would donate blood in an instant if I were not banned from doing so.

  6. GingerlyColors 25 Oct 2011, 3:32am

    If they lift the blood ban in Scotland, then I would have to travel north of the border to give blood. Unfortunately it will be to the detriment of English patients who are the only ones to pay prescription charges in the UK and are treated like second class citizens when it comes to heathcare so maybe I will stay put until they allow me to start donating blood in England again.

    1. Dr Robin Guthrie 25 Oct 2011, 10:15am

      Well stop voting in the same old political parties that shaft you.

      Scotland and Wales have learned that lesson and kicked them into the long grass.

      1. Spanner1960 25 Oct 2011, 2:06pm

        So Scotland has the SNP, and the Welsh have Plaid Cymru.
        What do you suggest? the EDL?

  7. Health is a devolved matter and the Scottish Parliament could have done something about it but has hidden behind the UK Advisory Committee.

    So just because SNP Conference condemns the ban doesn’t mean a change of Government policy.

    This SNP Government position was spelled out on 8th September this year and reported in the Independent. “Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “The UK Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissue and Organs has looked in depth at all the latest scientific evidence in this area, including improvements to blood screening and changes to donation criteria overseas, and recommended these changes on the basis of that evidence.

    “On that basis, I have accepted this expert advice in relation to blood donations in Scotland.

    “These changes will bring the criteria for men who have sex with men into line with other groups who are deferred from blood donation for 12 months due to sexual behaviours while ensuring every possible step is taken to maintain the safety of our blood supply.”

    1. Seems the SNP conference do not accept this, which should cause Sturgeon to review her position …

      1. Not necessarily Stu. The SNP membership have voted on matters before which where then ignored by the leadership.

        At the SNP party conference in October 2006, the membership voted to retain their long-standing policy on bus re-regulation, which had been in their election manifesto at the previous 2 Scottish Parliament elections.

        However, Brian Souter gave the SNP £500,000 in March 2007 and when the SNP manifesto was published in April 2007 for the elections in May 2007, there was no mention of the policy.

        So just because the party membership want something doesn’t mean it will happen.

        1. @BennieM

          I agree

          Nonetheless, if the SNP have the moral fibre they claim to have, then Sturgeon should review her position …

          If SNP want to maintain a pro gay attitude (which over recent days they have seemed to want) then they should review their position …

          Doesnt mean they will review it, but they should … if they have any integrity …

  8. Let’s be honest, is monogamy really part of our culture? As a sixties man I argue “why should it be?”

    But, like many great things in life, there are physical consequences – like eating loads of great food!

  9. Jock S. Trap 12 Nov 2011, 11:51am

    Time for action then. All we hear is talk.

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