Blood Ban: Change Working Out Fine

The change to blood donation rules in 2017 is working out just fine according to Public Health England.

Until 2011 there was a life ban on blood donation for bisexual and gay men, and their female partners.

Then in 2011 this was cut to a 12 month ban counting from the last time a man had had sex with another man – though due to a quirk of law, with a longer ban for their female partners.

In 2017 this was reviewed and cut to a 3-month ban.

Two years on, PHE representative Katy Davison has told an international conference on blood donation that the changes have worked out just fine.

New Scientist reports that “There was no significant rise in infected blood. Out of 2 million blood donations made in the UK in 2018, seven tested positive for HIV, compared with six in 2017. These donations were discarded and no transfusion recipients received HIV-infected blood, she told the meeting.

“In addition, 89 blood donations tested positive for hepatitis in 2018, compared with 102 the previous year. Blood transfusions resulted in one person becoming infected with hepatitis B and another with hepatitis E, but this was below the required rate of no more than one infection per 1 million transfusions.”