Our Verdict: Gay blood donation ban to be lifted for men who haven’t had sex with men for 10 years
Whilst this is great progress and step in the right direction to ending the blood ban on Gay and Bisexual men this is still not good enough.
Yes, the new policy would allow some bisexual men that have perhaps settled down with a women for more than 10 years or even “straight” men that had dabbled in the past to give blood which is great (though you have to question whether they were open about this on the blood forms to begin with). It still however openly and actively discriminates against gay men (or those that are sexually active at least once every 10 years…….).
Think of a reaction to a policy where it said that only heterosexual men and women that have not had sex for 10 years can give blood….there would be no donors! We’re sorry NBS, but gay men are sexual and do have sex and we should not be punished for doing so when it is safe and protected.
Now with the Royal College of Nurses giving their full support and backing to the ban being lifted I hope we can progress much further than this superficial change, that on the surface looks like progress and in some ways it is, however it really doesn’t change much in regards to the fight for equality and ending discrimination.
Want some further reading? Peter Tatchel provides a great article and argument for removing the ban
Project Negative has a feature in Midlands Zone Magazine
We strongly believe that the blood ban is dated bigotry and refer specifically to the need for a change of policy in our manifesto. While we realise that the blood ban was a knee-jerk reaction to the fear of a HIV epidemic, the Green Party continues to oppose the blood ban as we have done for many years. The manifesto reiterates that we need an end to the blanket, lifetime ban on gay and bisexual blood donors. New Labour has continued the blood ban, despite the rigorous tests that are carried out on donated blood and the evidence that three in four gay and bisexual mean would donate blood if they were able to.
While we accept that the government’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs is reviewing whether the comprehensive ban should remain, Greens point to the positive work of the Anthony Nolan Trust who have lifted their ban on all donations from gay and bisexual men. We believe that this outmoded practice deserves to end not just because it is unfair but because gay and bisexual men far from threatening the lives of patients can be helping to save their lives.
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