Northern Ireland to end lifetime ban on gay men donating blood

Northern Ireland’s lifetime ban on gay men donating blood is to end.

Stormont Health Minister Michelle O’Neill announced the decision on a visit to an LGBT advocacy organisation in Belfast.

A similar ban was lifted in England, Scotland and Wales in 2011 and replaced with rules that allowed gay men to give blood 12 months after their last sexual encounter with another man.

The lifetime ban had been retained in Northern Ireland by successive Democratic Unionist health ministers.

Ms O’Neill took over the health portfolio last week in the wake of the Assembly election and the decision on the blood ban is the first major announcement of her tenure.

It is understood the change will not be opposed by her DUP colleagues in the powersharing administration.

The one-year deferral system operated in the rest of the UK is now set to become law in Northern Ireland.

Ms O’Neill said substantial new evidence showed the risk of contracting HIV from donated blood is lower with a one-year deferral than with a lifetime ban.

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2 Responses to Northern Ireland to end lifetime ban on gay men donating blood

  1. kerberos616 says:

    Reblogged this on Kerberos616.


  2. This is a small step in the right direction. Australia currently also has a 12 month deferral period for MSM blood donations which is clearly a highly implausible demand for the LGBTI community. Governments should be looking at countries such as Italy, Spain, Chile and South Africa who use individual risk assessments on all potential donors in order to minimise HIV+ blood being used. The policies of Ireland, Australia, US and Canada are based on stereotypes and only damage the LGBTI community as well as making smaller the pool of potential donors in a time when blood donations are highly sought after!


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