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Study: Ending the gay blood ban could help save a million lives

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A report has claimed that ending the blanket ban on gay men donating blood in the US could help save over a million lives.

At present in the US, men who have had sex with men remain banned from donating blood for life, despite calls for reform.

Over 60 leading Democratic politicians, led by Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, this month signed a letter calling for the policy, introduced during the AIDS crisis, to be revised to reflect modern screening technology.

A study from the Williams Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles has found that ending the ban could have huge long-term benefits for the US.

According to the report, changing the liftetime ban for men who have sex with men (MSM) to a 12-month deferral, as in the UK, could lead an additional 185,800 men to donate 317,000 pints of blood each year.

If the ban were completely lifted, however, an additional 360,600 men would likely donate 615,300 additional pints of blood per year.

Researcher Ayako Miyashita said: “The American Red Cross suggests that each blood donation has the potential to be used in life-saving procedures on three individuals.

“Our estimates suggest that lifting the blood donation ban among MSM could be used to help save the lives of more than 1.8 million people.”

Earlier this year, a gay teen who committed suicide was rejected for tissue donation on the basis of his sexuality.

In South Africa in May, new rules were introduced that allow people in monogamous relationships to donate blood, irrespective of sexuality.

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