Gays can now donate blood in the UK

UK Gay Men Allowed to Donate Blood – But Only If Sexless for 10 Years!

Gays can now donate blood in the UK
"This looks like gay blood! Gross!"

England has decided to lift its ban on gay men donating blood – but only for males who have not engaged in gay sex in at least 10 years.

The reason for the 10-year delay is that this reduces the possibility of a status-unknown donor accidentally passing on HIV.

With a 10-year buffer, the chance of HIV entering the blood bank system increases by 2.5%, according to a government advisory committee.

Um, really? Ten years? According to an informal UB poll, this basically prevents 99% of gay men from ever donating blood! If you are a sexually active gay man, you still cannot donate blood.

The British government is concerned that the ban might be “discriminatory” and breach equality legislation. So in order to rectify this discrimination, they propose a 10-year buffer that effectively eliminates the ability for the majority of the discriminated-against-minority?!?

This ban is lip service to the real issue here: discrimination against gay blood is still rife, and this semi-loosening of the gay male blood ban is still far too restrictive. And yet, according to the Daily Telegraph:

There are estimated to be 86,500 people with HIV in Britain, with a quarter unaware that they have an infection. About 42% of people infected with HIV in 2009 were homosexual men.

So there are 21,625 people – straights and gays – that are unaware that they have HIV. And, if we extrapolate the 42% from 1999 out to the whole HIV+ community, 50,170 ARE NOT GAY.

Say, Anne, what about all of the straight people who have HIV and don't know it?

If over half  of the HIV infected population isn’t gay, then what is the UK Public Health Minister Anne Milton going to do to prevent HIV transmission amongst those straight people that are unknowingly carrying the disease? Why are gay people being targeted with a 10-year sex ban? Shouldn’t all people – gay or straight – be subjected to the same 10 year ban?

I reiterate: there are more straight people in England living with HIV than gay people, therefore it’s more than plausible that there are more straight people carrying HIV without even realizing it. Which means that they can also introduce HIV to the blood bank system.

Gay people should not be banned from giving blood, period. HIV is not a gay disease – it affects all of humanity, including non-condom wearing heterosexuals, and therefore it is just plain discrimination for us to be denied the ability to save lives via blood donations.

(via Daily Telegraph)

What do you think of the UK’s 10-year buffer for gay men’s blood?

  • bobbyjoeguy

    I’m not so sure it’s all about HIV… maybe a little of the reluctance is about being afraid of “gay” blood?

  • Mitch Lustig

    ugh, this is incredibly dumb for so many reasons!
    1)there is no way to prove if someone has been sexless for 10 years. They are just asking for people to lie or submit incorrect information.
    2)gays are not the only high risk group!
    3)gay people test for hiv way more than straight people. so if anyone doesn’t know their status, its not gay people.

    If they actually cared about preventing HIV, they would store the blood of anyone in a high risk group for 10 years, and then test it….

  • I am a gay man and I used to give blood before I became sexually active. Though I think there is a better way to minimize the risk of transmitting HIV via blood, I also feel the first realistic step is to create a stipulation against the demographic that is most likely to have HIV. 42% of the people infected with HIV are in one easily identifiably group: think how significant that is! That’s a huge number.

    I think that disallowing sexually active gay men to give blood is the right *start* to minimizing risk. However, this evidently is not thorough enough and most likely due to discriminatory or ignorant views of sexuality and AIDS. If a man identifies as sexually active and gay, there should be a supplementary questionnaire to determine the actual, viable risk of that specific man. I have been tested. I have been in a monogamous relationship for a while now. I know that the Red Cross needs my blood, yet I am still denied the opportunity to give.

    I both agree and strongly disagree. A good starting point? Yes. Equal and comprehensive? No.

  • I just don’t get it….why don’t they just test the blood donor for HIV (oral-quick-test) before allowing the donor to give a pint of blood?