Donating Blood and the Ban of Gay and Bisexual Men

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2011 National LGBT Conference
8 August 2011
Carried as Amended

Conference notes with disappointment the continued discrimination with regards to the donation of blood by gay and bisexual men. It notes that it was announced in early September that the blanket ban on men who had ever had sex with another man, which has been repeatedly identified as unfair and discriminatory, will be replaced in England, Scotland and Wales with effect from 7 November by a ban on men who have had anal or oral sex with another man in the previous 12 months. An announcement is expected soon on the policy in Northern Ireland.

Whilst this is a welcome step, Conference believes that it continues to discriminate against gay and bisexual potential blood donors by giving undue weight to sexual orientation instead of focusing on behaviours that may place an individual at increased risk of HIV and other blood borne infections.

This action just adds to the discrimination already faced by LGBT individuals and their access to health services. The assumption that men will not be able to give blood purely due to their sexual orientation is draconian and unnecessary.

Conference urges the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Committee to liaise with other campaign groups and trade unions and campaign for the screening of blood donors to be based solely on the health and risk related behaviours of individual donors, and highlighting that many gay and bisexual men practice safe sex.