This ‘blood bath’ by Lush shows just how many lives gay donors could save
A new campaign from Lush Cosmetics has highlighted the disparities in blood donation rules.
Until recently, men who have sex with men were banned from donating blood across the UK.
The government opted to relax the rules recently – initially saying gay men cannot donate blood within 12 months of being sexually active, and then lowering it to 12 weeks.
The blanket deferral period for gay men, which was intended to help prevent HIV contamination of blood supplies, has come under increasing scrutiny for failing to reflect modern screening capabilities.
The government said the changes, which were recommended by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) , are “based on the most up to date scientific evidence and medical advances, which will offer more people the opportunity to donate blood without affecting the safety of the blood supply”.
Now Lush has showcased an incredible piece of art to highlight the disparity in rules.
Lush Summit filled a bath with red liquid to highlight just how much blood a healthy gay men could donate across their life.
The amount of blood is enough to save 53 people’s lives.
The post has already been shared more than 1600 times.
Lush spokesperson Alessandro Commisso said: “It’s time to talk about blood donation for gay men, globally.
“The Orlando shooting last year brought this topic back on the mainstream media in the western world, and we all realised that this discrimination nowadays is not only unjustified but also widely unknown.
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“We have seen progress in the UK, with the Freedom To Donate campaign successfully improving the UK deferral time for gay men to be able to donate blood.
“There is still a lot to do in many countries, and we hope that an individual risk assessment will become the norm worldwide.”
Until as recently as 2016 in some regions of the UK, men who had gay sex were banned for life from giving blood, under rules introduced at the height of the HIV AIDS crisis.
The news of the shorter deferral period, which came into action at the start of this year, was welcomed by LGBT campaigners, though Stonewall urged the government to use it as a “stepping stone” to a system based on individual risk factors, rather than a blanket deferral for all gay men.