Bar on gay and bisexual men giving blood to be lifted
Blood donors are to be given a more individualised risk assessment which could allow more gay and bisexual men to become donors in the future.
New recommendations from a specialist steering group for Assessment of Individualised Risk (FAIR) has suggested adding additional questions to the risk assessment about sexual behaviours.
Currently men in the UK are not able to donate blood if they have had sex with another man in the last three months.
This change would mean these men will no longer be automatically barred from donating.
The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs has said it is satisfied with the recommendations.
It is hoped the changes will apply from summer 2021.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “We are committed to equality and inclusion, and these changes will ensure a fairer and more up to date assessment of risk is applied to both men and women to identify whether donors may be at risk of a blood-borne virus infection.”
Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service director Craig Spalding said: “Donor eligibility based on personal risk assessments, rather than on broader demographic information such as sexuality, is a welcome change.
“We are grateful for all the donors of Scotland and are looking forward to welcoming a broader cross section of the population, in particular those men who have sex with men who will be able to donate blood under the new criteria.”
The report from the FAIR group will be published by NHS Blood and Transplant shortly.