UK blood safer since ban on gay donors ended

The Department of Health has revealed that its blood is safer since the lifetime ban on gay men donating was thrown out in 2011.

Two new significant data sets indicated that the risk to blood safety from gay male donations had decreased since the policy changed in the UK.

 (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Blood samples are now screened more regularly by health authorities for any problems.

The Department of Health said: “Surveillance data derived from the tests carried out on every blood donation in England, Scotland and Wales since the policy change show that there fewer infections are being detected in donated blood”.

The current policy is still criticised by many for being discriminatory towards gay men. Whilst the 2011 move was a “step in the right direction” it still leaves many men unable to donate.

Currently gay men are allowed to donate blood 12 months after they last had sex with another male.

The government announced last year that they will be reviewing the year long ban on gay and bisexual men. Instead of screening on sexual orientation, they may propose screening on sexual behaviour.

Northern Ireland announced last week that they will be bringing their policies into line with the rest of the UK in September this year.

Michelle O’neill, the new health minister for Sinn Fein, announced the movement as part of her first major act.

Arlene Foster, the Democratic Union Party who held the position before O’neill supported the change in law. She said she was “happy” to change the law because of the new evidence that ruled out fears that a change in the ban would lead to more infected blood.