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UK Ban On Gay Men Donating Blood To Be Lifted

UK Ban On Gay Men Donating Blood To Be Lifted”

Rules preventing gay and bisexual men from donating blood in the United Kingdom - similar to the US Food and Drug Administration's - are set to be relaxed next summer as the United Kingdom government implements a new set of policies focused on risks and individualized behaviors rather than blanket prohibitions based on sexual orientation that are rooted in fear and stigma of HIV.

The change is expected to take effect in the summer 2021.

I'm pleased to have concluded that these new changes to donor selection will keep blood just as safe.

Mathew Lasky, director of communications for GLAAD, the leading LGBTQ+ advocacy group in the US, added in s statement: "As the FDA continues to reconsider its blood donation policies here in the United States, the decision in the United Kingdom offers further proof that USA blood donation policies for gay and bisexual men, and other LGBTQ people, are outdated, out of line with science, and must change to be based on individual assessments rather than discriminatory blanket bans".

The UK will allow some sexually active gay and bisexual men to donate blood, overturning a ban that originated during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and has been decried as homophobic for years.

"Whilst blood services are not responsible for setting the rules around who can and can't donate we're delighted that the work of the group has resulted in the development of a series of new regulations that will enable us to welcome more donors to our clinics".

Su Brailsford, Associate Medical Director at NHS Blood and Transplant, said this step is "just the beginning".

The American Red Cross is among the organizations that has opposed the rules, saying on its website that "blood donation eligibility should not be determined by methods that are based upon sexual orientation".

The rule applies to gay and bisexual men who are monogamous, test HIV-negative and are practicing safe sex, as well as to gay and bisexual COVID-19 survivors who wish to donate convalescent plasma.

More news: London faces highest level of coronavirus restrictions as Covid-19 cases mount

The change follows a report by "FAIR" the "For Assessment of Individualised Risk" steering group.

'FAIR has also made a recommendation to government that further evidence-based reviews are needed for other deferrals such as how we determine risk based on travel'.

Gold said: 'We now need to see action on the endemic health inequalities that lead to the disproportionate impact of HIV on some groups including gay and bisexual men and people from black African communities.

Under the new selection process, all donors will complete the same donor health check prior to donation, regardless of gender or sexuality - viewed as a positive step forward for equality in blood donation, recognising the risk that all donors, including heterosexual men and women, have the potential to carry infections.

"All current available scientific research shows a three-month deferral allows current state of the art testing systems to safely accommodate the window period between when a virus been contracted and it being detectable", he said.

'This includes the government meeting its commitment to end new HIV transmissions by 2030 and implementing the findings of the HIV Commission, which set out how this can be achieved'.

Since then, new HIV infections in many countries have fallen among gay and bi men.

Meanwhile some other countries - like Canada - ask for a three month wait after sex.

Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "We welcome the move to a more individualised risk assessment approach to blood donation".



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