Government to make announcement on gay blood donation

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The government is to make an announcement on gay men donating blood “in the near future”, a health minister said today.

Health minister Anne Milton, responding to a Commons question, said the issue was currently under consideration.

Gay and bisexual men are barred from donating blood because of fears of HIV transmission. But critics say the ban is homophobic and based on stereotypes.

The issue was raised in the Commons by Tory MP Andrew Stephenson, who said that the National Blood Service was “crying out for new donors”.

Ms Milton responded: “I understand that there has been a lot of concern that the rules are outdated, and we will make an announcement on the issue at some point in the near future.”

The government’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs began a review of the ban in 2009 and is expected to report its findings very shortly.

The coalition government published an LGBT policy document recently, although it has no mention of the issue.

However, prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg are both on record stating their opposition to the ban.

Conservative gay group LGBTory announced last September that it would begin campaigning to end the ban.

Chairman Matthew Sephton said: “The arbitrary blanket ban on men who have ever had sex with men giving blood is completely outdated and should go. What should replace it needs to be decided on the available medical evidence but the fact that it still exists as it does currently is nothing short of discrimination.

“LGBTory has been campaigning vigorously on this issue and will continue to do so until the outright ban is overturned.”