8,000 sign year-long petition against restrictions on gay blood donation
A petition calling for the government to lift the ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men, which it did partially last year by allowing donations from those who have not done so for a year, has attracted 8,000 signatures.
Launched a year ago, the call to end the ban was backed by a number of politicians, the LGBT groups of political parties and other LGBT organisations before it closed at the weekend.
In November 2011, the lifetime ban on men who have had sex with men was lifted but replaced with a condition that they may donate only if they have not had such a sexual experience in the last twelve months.
The petition’s text has remained the same, referring to a “blanket ban” based on “out-dated prejudice”, despite the change in policy. The new policy was described as a “ban in all but name” by the petition writer, Tom King.
Mr King said reaching 8,000 signatures was a “fantastic achievement”.
He continued: “In the past year the campaign to end the gay blood ban has come so far, we’ve had leaflets on stalls at university freshers’ fayres across the country, there’s been coverage in national newspapers, the Liberal Democrats made opposition to the ban their official policy and today 8,082 people have called on the Government to end this ban once and for all.
“The move to a 12 month deferral was a small step forward but for sexually active gay and bisexual men it is a ban in all but name and it was a decision entirely lacking in scientific foundation.”
The petition called for a blanket ban on ‘men who have sex with men’ to be replaced with individual risk-based donor screening to allow gay and bisexual men to contribute to life-saving resources.
Mr King added: “The current screening procedures group gay and bisexual men together as if they form a uniform risk to the blood stocks. A sensible, scientific and evidence-based donor screening policy would assess the risk of an individual’s sexual behaviour, without reference to their sexual orientation.”