Donation Not Discrimination sign now

The National Blood Service (NBS) provides a vital supply of blood to save lives. Every 30 seconds, someone in the UK receives blood and each week, 2,000 blood donations are needed. But practicing gay and bisexual men are not allowed to donate. We are campaigning to change this.

Since the early 1980s, the NBS has had a blanket ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men who have had oral or anal sex even with a condom. This is unscientific and unjust, as it is based on the presumption that all men who have sex with men are at high risk for HIV, regardless of their individual sexual behaviour.

After all the progress weve made towards LGBT equality over the last few years, its hard to accept such discrimination and homophobia from an organisation like the National Blood Service. LGBT members of our community are continuing to campaign to change this policy.

We, the undersigned strongly believe that the blanket, and lifetime, ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men should be removed. We believe that discriminating against a group of society based on a stereotype is wrong. Furthermore, the policy of the National Blood Service reinforces the idea that HIV/AIDS is a gay disease.

The current criteria for blood donations centres around perceived risk of an entire group. We are pushing for a system to be implemented based on actual risk. It is wrong to assume that everyone is automatically high-risk and therefore wrong to automatically ban every gay and bisexual man from giving blood.

A man who has had sex with a man once in his life, before the emergence of AIDS, is treated in the same way as someone who has had unprotected sex with multiple partners in the last month. An individuals sexual history is completely ignored. In addition, people who have engaged in unprotected heterosexual sex in high risk areas are free to donate after twelve months.

Other countries, including EU countries subject to the same European legislation as the UK, have already lifted the ban on donations from gay and bisexual men citing epidemiological evidence and discrimination as the primary reasons for this change in policy.

We believe that if the NBS is prepared to change the rules for one group of people to get more donors, as was done in November 2005, when the age limit was increased from 60 to 65, then the rules should be looked at again for gay and bisexual men. We also believe the NBS should reassess their policy to allow healthy gay and bisexual men at low risk to be allowed to donate blood. That includes those in a monogamous relationship and those who have not had sex in a defined period of time.

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Grace MeyerBy:
Politics and GovernmentIn:
Petition target:
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)

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