Blood donation rules relaxed for UK gay men

by Editorial Staff - 2017.07.31
Blood donation rules relaxed for UK gay men
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Blood donation restrictions for gay men are to be relaxed in England and Scotland under a series of equalities reforms. Gay men will be allowed to donate blood three months after sexual intercourse instead of a year. Advances in testing for blood-borne viruses, including hepatitis B and C and HIV, prompted the advisory committee on the safety of blood, tissues and organs to recommend the reforms to the government, which UK ministers accepted. Fears over infections being passed on through donations from gay men led to an outright ban at the height of the Aids epidemic in the 1980s, but that was cut to 12 months in 2011. LGBT organizations welcomed the move but said it was “far from perfect” since it falls short of standards implemented in some other countries, like Italy and Spain, where donors are screened based on individual risk. In these countries, medical staff identify whether the potential donor, gay or straight, has had any risky sexual relations, which may be dangerous to themselves and others. The new rule changes on blood donations will be implemented from November in Scotland, and early 2018 in England.

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