Blood donor rules still discriminate against gay men, say charities

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Changes to the rules surrounding blood donations have been welcomed by the Equality Network but it says they still discriminate against gay men

24th July 2017 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Changes to the rules surrounding blood donations have been welcomed by a Scottish LGBTI charity.

Currently, gay or bisexual men cannot give blood within a year of having sex with another man.

Under the new system, set to be implemented in Scotland in November, this period will be reduced to three months.

The Equality Network said the move was a significant step forward but discrimination still existed against gay men.

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service have committed to explore ways in which a more personalised risk assessment could be introduced

Scott Cuthbertson, Equality Network development manager, said: “These rule changes are a welcome and significant step forward which will inevitably allow more gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

“We remain concerned, however, that many low-risk gay and bisexual men, for example those in monogamous relationships, will still not be allowed to donate under this new policy.

“Crucially as part of these rule changes, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) have committed to explore ways in which a more personalised risk assessment could be introduced.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the SNBTS and the advisory committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) to eliminate all unwarranted discrimination from the UKs blood donation rules.”

The blood donation rules were changed in Scotland after the Scottish Government instructed SNBTS to implement the recommendations of a recent review of blood donor criteria and risk assessment.

The rule change also affects commercial sex workers and people who have sex with partners who are classed as high risk. 

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