Gay men in the UK will finally be allowed to donate blood, but only if they’ve been celibate for at least a decade.
This according to The Telegraph, which reported that the outright ban on gay men donating blood is expected to be relaxed out of concern that this may be illegal under equality legislation.
The newspaper reports that the new measure is set to be announced by the government in the coming week.
Many LGBT groups claim that not allowing gay men to donate blood is illogical and discriminatory. They say that all donated blood is today fully screened for HIV and that many, if not more, heterosexual people engage in risky behaviour such as anal sex.
They believe that the basis of limiting blood donations should be on the potential donor’s sexual behaviour, not his sexual orientation.
Under current South African National Blood Service (SANBS) policy, gay males may donate blood if they have been celibate for six-months.
In 2009, SA GLAAD called for the current deferral period to be abolished “and for SANBS’s donor screening to rely on solid medical evidence and testing as opposed to questionnaires that hold a large margin for error”.