Bil Browning

UK Lifts Lifetime Blood Ban for Gay Men

Filed By Bil Browning | September 08, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: blood ban, blood donation, gay men, UK, United Kingdom

Good news from across the pond today. The UK has lifted its lifetime ban on gay men who want to donate blood. Thumbnail image for blood-draw.jpgThe new regulations say that a man who hasn't had oral or anal sex with another man in the past year is allowed to donate.

The move came in response to new scientific evidence that found a lifetime ban was an unnecessary safety precaution.

Health officials hope it will lead to an increase in the number of blood donors at a time of shortages across the UK.
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A lifetime ban on gay men who are sexually active was put in place in the UK in the 1980s as a response to the spread of HIV and Aids.

Most new HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections in the UK still result from men having sex with men.

However, politicians have now changed the policy in light of a review by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (Sabto).
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The Committee found the evidence no longer supported the permanent exclusion of sexually-active gay men. Women who have sex with women have never been excluded from giving blood.

In the United States, gay men have had a lifetime ban from donating blood if they've had sex with another man since 1977. Senator John Kerry and Congressman Mike Quigley are leading an effort on the Hill to remove the ban. An HHS advisory committee reviewed the policy in mid-2010 but decided to keep it in place.

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Years ago, in financial desperation, I sold plasma but lied about my sexual orientation to do so. I knew I was HIV-negative so I had no moral scruples about doing it. Still, it rankled that I had to prevaricate...

A solid step in the right direction, certainly.

I'd call it lifting the ban on blood donations by bisexual and celibate gay men.

I still remember taking calls asking me to donate after I was ineligible. It took several months for the word to filter through the record-keeping systems, making for a number of uncomfortable conversations. This seems to set up the same scenario for British guys... uhhh... well, try me again in 6 months or a year!

Of all the crazy anti-LGBT things in the world - this is one that makes the less sense to me. I get the whole HIV scare history behind it - but those arguments are so ridiculously out of date. Glad to see that the UK has finally come around on this one...crazy to me that they got around to same-sex marriage before this matter that can literally be one of life and death. :)

Good. Maybe the U.S. will get around to repealing it's ban as well.
-Jeremy