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Permanent ban on blood donations from MSM lifted in UK; unsound ban remains

AIDS Community/Meta

By Adam Bink

I wrote back in September about the progress in the UK towards a sensible policy on blood donations from MSM (men who have sex with men). Today, the lifetime ban was officially lifted, though a ban remains if you’ve had sex with another man in the past year. One way of viewing it is a step forward on the policy; the objective may be to narrow to a 12-month or 6-month window, as other countries do, and when the sky doesn’t fall, e.g. there isn’t a sudden epidemic of people getting infected through transfusions, then perhaps we’ll shift to a criteria makes sense, that being risk-based rather than a blanket ban on a group of individuals.

By the way, a lifetime ban still remains here in the United States, something the government is looking at revising as well, though it remains an extremely slow process. More background on the issue here.


  • 1. Colleen  |  November 8, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I would love to see the ban lifted. Every time I give blood I feel a little bit of something like survivor's guilt – that I can give blood as a lesbian, but if I were a gay man, it wouldn't be good enough. I don't protest by not giving, because that harms those who need to benefit most, but it does make me uncomfortable.

  • 2. AnonyGrl  |  November 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I can't give blood for an equally ridiculous reason (I was in England for more than 3 months back in 1987, so supposedly I am a potential carrier of mad cow disease), so I ENCOURAGE others to give blood, and do it for me if nothing else.

    Colleen, I understand your discomfort, but look at it this way, you are not so much donating despite the fact that others cannot, as you are doing so to honor those who would if they could.

  • 3. Tasty Salamanders  |  November 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Well unfortunately that isn't a ridiculous reason, Mad Cow Disease can lay dormant for decades and is to impossible to test for except by cutting up the brains of people who have suspected to have died from it, so you won't know you have it until you start showing symptoms. And the yeah there was a epidemic of Mad Cow Disease in Britain in the late 80s so most countries around the world ban people who were in Britain during those years from donating.

  • 4. Gregory in SLC  |  November 8, 2011 at 11:03 am

    So, like the Mormon church, you are accepted, only if you are celibate. Charming…

  • 5. Mike  |  November 9, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Is a woman less likely to contract diseases from a man, than a man from another man.

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