The lifetime ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men will be lifted in England, Scotland and Wales as of November 7th of this year. The government agreed to allow men who have not had sex with another man in the past year to donate blood. The restrictions were put in place in the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS panic.
The United Kingdom is not the first to allow this, South Africa enforces a six-month space between sex and donation rule and Australia, Sweden and Japan all follow the year time allowance.
HRC’s Peter Tatchell said the new policy was a “big improvement on the existing discriminatory rules” saying that “most gay and bisexual men do not have HIV and will never have HIV. They can and should be allowed to help save lives by becoming donors.”
UK Health Minister Anne Milton was quoted as saying “Blood donations are a lifeline, and many of us would not have loved ones with us today if it was not for the selfless act of others.”
Advanced blood donor testing in the UK has led to no documented transmission of a blood-born virus in the UK since 2005, with no HIV transmission since 2002.