Petition challenges blood ban


A new petition on the government’s public petition website calls for the lifting of “the ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood whilst sexually active”.

Joseph Shaw’s petition, here, notes that

In the UK*, men who engage in sexual acts with other men are banned from donating blood, unless they do not engage in these acts for a full 12 months prior to donation.

Men who sleep with men (MSM) are being stigmatised by this rule as being dangerous.

All blood samples used for donation are subject to rigorous testing to ensure that various illnesses, including HIV/AIDs, cannot be transferred to a recipient of blood.

This also draws away from the fact that a promiscuous heterosexual male who has multiple partners is in fact a higher risk of infection than a monogamous homosexual male.

This unjust ban must be lifted if we truly live in a modern society!

In Britain bar on blood donation by men who have sex with men was reduced five years ago from a life ban to 12 months.  The USA recently announced it was following suit, and there is some argument about the logic and epidimeology justifying the 12-month rule.

The ban is already subject to a review announced last November, and has been subject to repeated challenges in Parliament in recent years – the last being Lib Dem leader Tim Farron’s bill in February.

It would be welcome to see more recognition in these campaigns that as well as affecting men who have sex with men, the ban also extends to the women partners of bi men. It’s an aspect that tends to be forgotten when the blood ban is talked about, but through the peculiarities of how the rules work face a longer donation ban than their husbands or boyfriends.


* Strictly in Northern Ireland the ban remains a life ban, but we’re sure the government will know what Joseph means!