Petition started to challenge blood donation rules for gay men
A petition has been started to challenge blood donation rules for men who have sex with men in the UK.
The petition was started by 2nd year History Student at the University of Lincoln Thomas Kohler, who says the advancement of HIV testing technology in recent years means the rules should be changed.
Back in 2011 a lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men from giving blood was lifted, now meaning that if a man goes twelve months without having sex with a man, he can give blood.
The same 12-month limitation is put on women who have had sex with a man who has had sex with a man.
Kohler argues that due to the nation’s blood shortage, the ban should be totally lifted.
“My argument is that if we can donate blood marrow and organs, which are tested in very similar ways to blood, why can’t we donate blood?” he told The Linc.
“All blood is tested in the same way and they’ve decided that those tests are foolproof enough for all the other blood that is donated, so why not blood from this specific category?”
Pointing to gay and bisexual men as a possible way to make up for shortages, if the ban was lifted, Kohler said: “Homosexual and bisexual people represent 10% of the population, and they’re cutting off 10% of the population’s blood to be donated.
“Considering not enough people donate blood anyway, and there’s gay people fighting to give blood, it’s not on.”
In order for the matter to be debated in parliament, Kohler’s petition must reach 100,000 signatures. He has set a goal of March 2015, in order to gather the signatures needed.
Kohler kick-started the petition with a mass-signing day at the university today, which saw it reach 700 signatures, and he is hopeful that it will reach its goal by next March.