UK lifts blood ban

Timothy Kincaid

November 7th, 2011

As in the United States and much of the world, in the 1980’s the United Kingdom implemented a ban on blood donations by gay men. The UK Department of Health has now revised the ban to reflect the changes in blood analysis and knowledge about HIV that have occurred since that time. (herald)

.. following a review by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (Sabto), men who have not had homosexual sex within a year will be able to donate if they meet certain other criteria. The move will be implemented in England, Scotland and Wales.

Men who have had anal or oral sex with another man in the past 12 months, with or without a condom, will still not be eligible to donate blood, the DoH said. They said this was to reduce the risk of infections being missed by testing and then being passed on to a patient.

Health officials agree that this policy change will not measurably increase risk of HIV contaminated blood.

However, over the objections of the Red Cross and other health officials, the United States continues to base its blood donation policies on fear and prejudice rather than science.

Mark F.

November 7th, 2011

A reasonable change.


November 7th, 2011

Big deal. If you’re sexually active, we still don’t want you. Promiscuous and str8? Go to the front of the line.

Only the celebate need apply.


November 8th, 2011

This new policy (same as the policy in Australia) still amounts to discrimination based on membership of a group. A monogamous gay couple will still be denied the opportunity to donate blood because they are gay, not because of their real or likely HIV status. Conversely the blood of a heterosexual man who has multiple sexual partners will be eagerly accepted.

Familiar old anti-gay prejudice in a new guise.


November 8th, 2011

Let’s also remember this ban is not just about blood, but also organ donations. if my sister – my only sibling- needed a kidney, I would be barred from helping, even if she were willing to take the risk.

What is really sad is that there has been zero research to determine the true risk factors for HIV transmission, in terms of behavior, while our government continues to stigmatize gay men as diseased freaks.

Mark F.

November 8th, 2011

“… the blood of a heterosexual man who has multiple sexual partners will be eagerly accepted.”

Well, heterosexual men only rarely contract AIDS in the West. Heterosexual male cases usually turn out be drug users or men on the down low.

Timothy Kincaid

November 9th, 2011

I find the one year ban reasonable. Statistically – like it or not – gay men are more likely to have contracted HIV. And – like it or not- gay men who believe themselves to be in monogamous relationships are much more likely to have HIV than heterosexual men who believe themselves to be in monogamous relationships AND heterosexual men who are sexually promiscuous.

That has nothing to do with “who cheats more” and is simply recognition that cheating happens in both gay and straight relationship – but the risk of contracting HIV from a lyin’ cheatin’ snake is much higher for gay men.


I’m not 100% certain, but I think it applies to general and anonymous organ donors. I think that if you were a match for your sister that a specific donor situation would consider other factors.

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