The Department of Health have lifted bans today on me who have ever had gay sex donating blood.
The changes will come in to England, Wales and Scotland this week, allowing men who have not had gay sex in the last 12 months to give blood.
The advisory committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (Sabto) said it could no longer support the permanent exclusion of men who had engaged in gay sex.
Dr Lorna Williamson, medical and research director of NHS Blood and Transplant said: “The Sabto review concluded that the safety of the blood supply would not be affected by the change and we would like to reassure patients receiving transfusions that the blood supply is as as safe as it reasonably can be and amongst the safest in the world.
Gay rights campaigners though, say that gay men are still treated unfairly in the new rule change as they argue that straight couples ho could be seen to engage in more high risk sexual activity are not subject to the same restrictions.
The 12 month gap was implemented as Hepatitis B is seen to disproportionately affect gay and bisexual men, and it can take up to a year to clear the body.
LGB charity, Stonewall say that this is a “step in the right direction”.
Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall said: “Safety must remain paramount. However at a time of national shortages in blood, everyone who can give blood at no risk to recipients should be able to donate.”
“To retain a blanket ban on any man who has had sex with another man in the last year, even if he has only had oral sex, remains disproportionate on the basis of available evidence.”
The European Commission said any ban on the basis of sexual orientation breaks EU laws, although John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer policy said: “Sexual behaviour should not be confused with sexual orientation.”