Thursday 26 April 2018

Gay men able to give blood after ban lifted

Lizzie Robinson in London

GAY men will be able to give blood from today as the British government officially lifts restrictions. A lifetime ban on blood donation by gay men was put in place in the UK in the 1980s as a response to the spread of AIDS and HIV.

But 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.

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. SABTO said this was to reduce the risk of infections being missed by testing and then being passed on to a patient.

SABTO's advisory panel, comprising leading experts and patient groups, carried out its review based on the latest available evidence and found it could no longer support the permanent exclusion of gay men.

NHS Blood and Transplant medical and research director Dr Lorna Williamson said: "Our priority as a blood service is to provide a safe and sufficient supply of blood for patients.

"This change gives us an opportunity to broaden our donor acceptance on the basis of the latest scientific evidence."

Irish Independent

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