Stonewall calls for end to blood ban

New position result of extensive policy review
Risk of infection should be assessed equally

As a result of a two year policy review, Stonewall is putting pressure on the National Blood Service to lift the discriminatory blanket lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.
‘In blood donation, safety is paramount,’ said Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill, ‘And it’s for this very reason that Stonewall now urges the National Blood Service to change its current restrictions to reflect risk behaviours. As it stands, a heterosexual person who has consistently put themselves at risk of exposure to HIV is not given the same lifetime ban as that of a gay man, who has had protected sex just once.’
‘People wanting to donate blood should be asked the same questions – irrespective of their sexual orientation - that accurately and fairly assess their level of risk of infection. The current system fails to do this. Instead, it stigmatises gay men by perpetuating the offensive myth that they cannot be trusted in matters of sexual health.’
‘In the course of our policy review, Stonewall has been perplexed by the buck-passing in the NHS on this matter. We’ll be urging ministers to encourage senior health professionals to take this matter seriously and to fall in line with current practices in Spain, Italy, Australia and New Zealand – none of whom now have a lifetime blanket ban on gay men.’
‘We’re also mindful that the Anthony Nolan Trust has recently lifted their own ban on bone marrow donations by gay men.’
Contact: Derek Munn, Director of Public Affairs 020 7593 1854 / 07985 439 660 or Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive, on 020 7593 1853 / 07949 108 798

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