[UK] Gay men blood donor ban to be lifted


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+Frank B.

Gay men blood donor ban to be lifted

The lifetime ban on blood donations by homosexual and bisexual men will be lifted in England, Scotland and Wales.

Ministers have agreed to let men who have not had sex with another man in the past 12 months to donate from November.

The restrictions were put in place in the 1980s to prevent the risk of HIV contamination.

However, the latest medical evidence presented to a government panel argued the ban could no longer be justified.

Ministers in the three countries accepted the argument and said they would be relaxing the rules. Northern Ireland is expected to make a decision soon.

The National Blood Service screens all donations for HIV and other infections. However, there is a "window period" after infection during which it is impossible to detect the virus.

In the UK, a lifetime ban was introduced in the early 1980s as a response to the Aids epidemic and the lack of adequate HIV tests.

Bad blood

The ban had been questioned both on equality and medical grounds.

The government's Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs has been reviewing the policy.

Committee member Prof Deirdre Kelly said the safety of the blood supply is "absolutely essential" and that any restrictions "must be based on the latest scientific evidence".

She said there had been advances in the testing of donated blood which had significantly reduced the chance of errors and had reduced the size of the "window period".

She said the data showed that "the risk from a 12-month deferral was equivalent to permanent deferral" so "the evidence does not support the maintenance of a permanent ban".

Other at-risk groups, such as people who have been sexually active in high-risk countries, are already banned from donating for a year.

The findings were accepted by health ministers and a one-year ban will come into force in England, Scotland and Wales on 7 November.

Several other countries have already come to similar verdicts.

South Africa has introduced a six-month gap between sex and donation. It is a year in Australia, Sweden and Japan.

Research published at the end of last year suggested there was no significant increase in the risk of HIV infection after the change in the rules in Australia.

Dr Lorna Williamson, medical and research director of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "The change does not alter the estimated risk, therefore patients needing a transfusion can be sure blood is safe."

'No concern'

She said enforcing the one-year rule would be "based on trust" when men register to donate blood.

Gabriel Theophanous has needed a blood transfusion every month for 30 years because he has the condition thalassaemia. He said: "I just want to know the blood is safe - this issue doesn't cause me any concern."

The gay rights group Stonewall said the move was a "step in the right direction".

However, its chief executive Ben Summerskill said there would still be tighter controls on low-risk gay men than on high-risk heterosexuals.

"A gay man in a monogamous relationship who has only had oral sex will still automatically be unable to give blood but a heterosexual man who has had multiple partners and not worn a condom will not be questioned about his behaviour, or even then, excluded."

Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terence Higgins Trust, a sexual health charity, said the new rules were "necessary, fair and reasonable".

However, he said it was impossible to say how many men would actually be able to start donating blood as "the vast majority of gay men are still [sexually] active".

Source: BBC News

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Nick H.

While I agree that it's a step in the right direction (finally!) the ministers still come across as stupid by reducing the time period rather than just abolishing it.

On the other hand - and as the article points out - there is no way to test for the last time someone was sexually active, meaning that it's based on trust. All people need to do is lie if they really want to donate.

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Hum

Let's just get rid of HIV

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TheLegendOfMart

Whats the point in 12 month ban, surely all the blood has to be tested regardless of who it came from?

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ThePitt

how about gay woman? :laugh:

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Dark_ph0enix

how about gay woman? :laugh:

Gay women have never been excluded from donating blood [or organs] in the UK.

While this is a nice gesture, I personally don't think this will change much. I can name 5 friends my age, all of whom are gay, who have between them donated blood ~100 times. It's not like they interrogate you during the process - the only mention of sexuality appears in the following questions:

[A6] Male donors only; Since you last donation have you ever had oral or anal sex with a man, with or without a condom? [Yes | No]

In short - gay people who have wanted to donate blood, and not kick up a fuss have been doing so for years.

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+KibosJ

Gay women have never been excluded from donating blood [or organs] in the UK.

While this is a nice gesture, I personally don't think this will change much. I can name 5 friends my age, all of whom are gay, who have between them donated blood ~100 times. It's not like they interrogate you during the process - the only mention of sexuality appears in the following questions:

[A6] Male donors only; Since you last donation have you ever had oral or anal sex with a man, with or without a condom? [Yes | No]

In short - gay people who have wanted to donate blood, and not kick up a fuss have been doing so for years.

Exactly, all the blood is tested anyway, it shouldn't matter where it comes from :/

Glad I don't live in the UK.

We're glad you don't live here too :)

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ILikeTobacco

Whats the point in 12 month ban, surely all the blood has to be tested regardless of who it came from?

Its the same reason there is a waiting period for after you get a tattoo/piercing. Some issues are easier to detect after a period of time. Someone with more medical knowledge could give examples.

Of course in this case, a gay/bi man is just as much as a risk as a straight one. If they want to ban gay/bi men for one year after sexual contact, straight ones should also be banned. You can't catch a case of the gays through blood so the only risks are the same risks you get from being stupid and straight. If you don't use protection, you are a risk, period. Doesn't matter if you are straight or gay. There is however the line of thought that gays use less protection due to no risk of pregnancy. That may be the logic behind it though I wonder if statistics back that up.

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+KibosJ

Its the same reason there is a waiting period for after you get a tattoo/piercing. Some issues are easier to detect after a period of time. Someone with more medical knowledge could give examples.

Of course in this case, a gay/bi man is just as much as a risk as a straight one. If they want to ban gay/bi men for one year after sexual contact, straight ones should also be banned. You can't catch a case of the gays through blood so the only risks are the same risks you get from being stupid and straight. If you don't use protection, you are a risk, period. Doesn't matter if you are straight or gay. There is however the line of thought that gays use less protection due to no risk of pregnancy. That may be the logic behind it though I wonder if statistics back that up.

It can take up to 6 months, and in some cases a little longer, to detect HIV in the blood. The 'limit' should be set for EVERYONE, not just homosexuals.

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ILikeTobacco

There is no difference between a gay persons blood and a straight persons.

You think they are like Aliens with acid blood or afraid of turning gay? Get over yourself...

Gays/bi's would have to disagree with that statement or change their stance of they were born that way. According to the "I was born this way" group, it genetic and genes are in the blood. :p

Of course it wouldn't turn you gay so I agree with your point of him needing to get over himself.

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Grunt

Gay blood will only be given to Twilight fans.

Because it *sparkles* laugh.gif

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Laura

While I agree that it's a step in the right direction (finally!) the ministers still come across as stupid by reducing the time period rather than just abolishing it.

On the other hand - and as the article points out - there is no way to test for the last time someone was sexually active, meaning that it's based on trust. All people need to do is lie if they really want to donate.

The idea of donating means you want to do a good thing. If you lie then you're putting yourself and others at risk. The criteria are designed to exclude people who might put recipients at risk, and that includes injected drug users and prostitutes, as well as people with particular health issues where donating may put them, the donor, at risk.

No one has the right to donate. But recipients of blood, who are already grievously sick, have the right to the safest blood we can provide them with.

I'm glad they've taken this step for several reasons, not least that it must mean that the risks for blood borne disease amongst gay men must be lower than in the past/previously thought.

Whats the point in 12 month ban, surely all the blood has to be tested regardless of who it came from?

Exactly, all the blood is tested anyway, it shouldn't matter where it comes from :/

.....

It can take up to 6 months, and in some cases a little longer, to detect HIV in the blood. The 'limit' should be set for EVERYONE, not just homosexuals.

This, also, it's possible that a test could give a false negative i.e. incorrectly say 'no HIV'.

Another issue for 'at risk' groups in terms of blood borne disease is the risk of new disease that no one knows about being spread around, or disease we don't have tests for. When I worked for the blood service a few years ago there were no tests for vCJD, which might be transmittable via blood.

As I said elsewhere, other 'at risk' groups get excluded. Injectable drug users, prostitutes. If you have a tattoo, piercing or accupuncture or travel to particular places you also get a temporary ban.

This isn't because the Blood Service is run by judgemental prudes, from inside we didn't give a damn about donors lifestyle choices to be honest. From inside you see the link between donation and someone being transfused, and you want that to be as safe as possible. Since tests can fail it makes sense to try to ensure donors have a low probability for anything already.

Gays/bi's would have to disagree with that statement or change their stance of they were born that way. According to the "I was born this way" group, it genetic and genes are in the blood. :p

Of course it wouldn't turn you gay so I agree with your point of him needing to get over himself.

Being biological or 'not a choice' doesn't mean it's genetic to be fair. I think genes have been found linked to sexuality, but human sexuality is likely to be far more complex than that. Much of our health and brains are affected by early childhood and hormones, development in the womb, etc etc.

Also it's worth noting that donated blood gets split into separate components, so depending on what you are short on, you might not get any 'gay' genes :p

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Andrew Lyle

Luckily ignorant people like him are a minority, maybe hes afraid gay blood will make him gay, too bad it cant make him intelligent also.

Edit: WOW...say his posts right after that, hes in bad need of intelligence.

Luckily yes. Maybe he has homosexual tendencies and is afraid to admit it. His parents must be proud.

Yes there is I don't want to have blood transfusion and become gay, there blood is full with gaycoli.

LOL, that made me laugh :D

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neufuse

Luckily yes. Maybe he has homosexual tendencies and is afraid to admit it. His parents must be proud.

if I've learned anything from highschool and leaving it 10+yrs ago, its that the kids in school that rail on others and call them gay, usually turn out to be it themselves..... amost everyone I knew in school that did that constantly came out in college......

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mudslag

According to most people, gay men are born that way.

Clearly, nature has decided to remove the desire to procreate from those people in order to lessen their chances of passing on their genes. Likely because they are unfit to do so.

If nature has decided those people are unfit and should not pass on their genes, then I don't want their blood being introduced into me.

Simple as that.

You really dont have any say. If you ever need a transfusion, they dont have a single clue who's blood you are getting. Maybe you'll get the blood of a murderer, or a priest that molests kids or even a relative who "experimented" back in the day. You just never know. :whistle: :rolleyes:

FTR blood has ZERO to do with who that person is, you are not getting their "genes".

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tiagosilva29

I can't stop laughing at this thread.

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rajputwarrior

I can't stop laughing at this thread.

it's damn funny. especially that ignorant dude who thinks getting blood from a gay guy will make him gay... i bet he's down with lesbian blood though.

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neufuse

it's damn funny. especially that ignorant dude who thinks getting blood from a gay guy will make him gay... i bet he's down with lesbian blood though.

hey man, its not gay if its lesbian blood and you're a man :laugh:

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jakem1

According to most people, gay men are born that way.

Clearly, nature has decided to remove the desire to procreate from those people in order to lessen their chances of passing on their genes. Likely because they are unfit to do so.

If nature has decided those people are unfit and should not pass on their genes, then I don't want their blood being introduced into me.

Simple as that.

Are you trying to compete with JPX (who I see has now been banned) to see who can make the most stupid comment in this thread?

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Seahorsepip

Let's just get rid of HIV

You mean going back in time and preventing the americans to make it?

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Hum

I just hope I never need blood. Sorry, but I don't want homo blood in me. Might not be PC, but that's how I feel.

Yeah -- you'll definitely start doing gay stuff then. :rolleyes:

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thommcg

According to most people, gay men are born that way.

Clearly, nature has decided to remove the desire to procreate from those people in order to lessen their chances of passing on their genes. Likely because they are unfit to do so.

If nature has decided those people are unfit and should not pass on their genes, then I don't want their blood being introduced into me.

Simple as that.

Do you understand the difference between blood and semen? Though I guess you don't want their semen either.

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jakem1

You mean going back in time and preventing the americans to make it?

:blink:

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rajputwarrior

hey man, its not gay if its lesbian blood and you're a man :laugh:

:rofl:

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Charisma

My comment makes perfect sense, unlike JPX's. He possibly thinks he will turn gay himself, while I just would refuse gay blood because nature has refused to give them the desire to procreate due to unfit genes.

Nothing wrong with agreeing with nature.

I'm kind of inclined to agree with this. I have nothing against gay people at all, but something about this doesn't sit right with me. Not sure why but I'd be inclined to go with my gut instinct if I had a choice. Which I guess I wouldn't anyway if I were in that situation. (I'm not afraid of dying either, though, so there is that.)

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