British MP says gay blood ban must be lifted
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant says restrictions preventing gay and bisexual men from giving blood must end.
Writing in The Guardian, Fabricant said although marriage equality would bring happiness to many British couples, “the cause of equality still has barriers to break”.
“If you are a gay man and have not been celibate for 12 months or more, you are banned from donating blood, even if you have been practising safe sex,” Fabricant wrote. “By contrast, if you are straight but promiscuous with multiple partners and practising unsafe sex, you can. This is wrong.”
“In January last year, parts of England and Wales came within three days of running out of a blood group. With outdated, illogical and unequal rules for blood donation, such crises are likely to recur.”
At present, British men who have sex with men can only donate if they have not had sex for 12 months or more.
“I shall be seeking further scientific advice on this, but I believe it to be one of the last frontiers of equality and intend to raise the issue in parliament,” Fabricant wrote.
Earlier this year the Department of Health rejected an appeal to lift the ban on sexually active gay men.
A DH spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk: “The 12-month deferral reflects the heightened risk men who have sex with men have from blood-borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis B.
“It allows for the period of time these viruses can go undetected by screening tests and lessens the risk of infection in people who need blood donations.”