Blood Ban to be Lifted in the UK on November 7th

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From November 7th Gay and Bisexual men in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to give blood. Any Gay or Bisexual Man who has not had homosexual sex in 12 months will be able to give blood.

While its not the most ideal of situations, it is better then a blanket ban on gay and bisexual men.

Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service national director Keith Thompson said: “We are pleased that this new donor selection criteria has been made possible by the most up to date scientific advances in screening and testing.”

He added: “Blood donation works on the principles of kindness and mutual trust.

“In order for us to safely introduce this new rule we ask all potential and existing donors to adhere to the selection criteria by providing completely honest answers to all the questions, both for the protection of their own health and that of patients.”

Mr Thompson said the blood donor selection criteria and other blood safety measures, including stringent testing, mean that there has been no documented transmission of a blood-born virus in the UK since 2005, with no HIV transmission since 2002.

The National Aids Trust has welcomed the changes.

The organisation tweeted: “NAT welcomes the lifting of the lifetime blood ban for gay men and the new evidence-based approach.”

With our nearest neighbour now lifting the ban, it will give support to those advocating a more scientific based approach to the ban here in Ireland. While there will be those opposed to any sort of ban, a short term ban is better then a blanket ban.

It is interesting to note that the ban will not be lifted in Northern Ireland. So then ban, for now, is still in effect across the Island of Ireland, and I cannot see that changing despite what the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs have found in their review earlier this year.

The IBTS will have to change eventually, especially if it is confirmed that the blanket lifetime ban is against EU Law.

 

Gay Blood Ban Against EU Law – EU Commissioner

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John Dali, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, has stated that a blanked ban on Gay and Bisexual Men giving blood is against EU law.

In an answer to Glenis Willmott (S&D) and Michael Cashman (S&D) he explained that EU law warranted the deferral of those “at high risk of acquiring severe infectious diseases” due to their “sexual behaviour”. Mr Dalli underlined that “‘sexual behaviour’ is not identical with ‘sexual orientation’”.

The Commission also noted that when implementing EU law, Member States must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. This means a blanket ban on all gay and bisexual men would be illegal under EU law.

According to the European Parliaments Intergroup on LGBT Rights, National Authorities often cite a 2004 Directive on technical requirements for blood and blood components to justify the ban. Most member states have a de facto ban on gay men from giving blood and this includes Ireland.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, said the Commission’s answer “makes a lot of sense. Commissioner John Dalli reminds Member States that it is individuals who are at risk—not groups. Being gay or bisexual cannot automatically pose a threat to public health; but risky sexual behaviour in men or women, gay or straight, is a real risk. I hope the British government’s announcement later today will prefer scientific evidence to prejudice.”

Further commenting the Commission’s answer, Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup and Member of the Committee on Public Health added: “It is our highest priority to look after public health, and thus take care of the quality of donated blood. But health ministers must bear in mind that sexual orientation, ethnic background and other identity traits are fully irrelevant to a person’s health. Denying blood donation from these groups is discriminatory and goes fully against logic.”

 

If Thailand can accept Gay Blood Donors, Why Can’t Ireland?


Its been awhile since I’ve been on my hobby horse about the Gay Blood Ban, but I ofund this via the Gay News Blog the story is from the Advocate and is about the situation now in Thailand.

On Friday, the Red Cross of Thailand, announced that Gay men will be allowed to give blood! In fact the head of the Red Cross went on to apologies for the ban!

“We didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” Soisaang Pikulsod, director of the Thai Red Cross National Blood Center, said in the article. “It was just to ensure the highest possible safety of our patients.”

The Red Cross in Thailand is now redoing their form and instead of asking about sexual orientation will be asking about high risk sexual behaviour and Drug Use. Now why can’t the IBTS do this? This what we are calling for.

If Thailand Can Do It? Why Can’t Ireland