The United Kingdom announced on Monday an ease of restrictions on blood donation by gay and bisexual men beginning next year, a shift in policy hailed by activists who have fought these discriminatory rules.
Under the new guidelines, donors who have had only one sexual partner for more than three months will be eligible. It will be requiered to complete a questionnaire prior to donating will be used to assess safety. The criteria will apply to all people interested in giving blood, regardless of their gender, their partners’ gender or the sexual activity in which they engage.
Rules preventing gay and bisexual men from blood donation were implemented in many countries in the mist of the AIDS crisis, with health agencies stating that they were «more likely than other people to acquire infections through sex.»
The new criteria was born out of a report by the “For Assessment of Individualised Risk” (FAIR) steering committee, a collaboration of British blood services and LGBTQ nonprofits. After two years of research, they proposed to identify a wider range of risk behaviors that apply to all donors, according to the U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care.
«This is a positive step and recognises individuals for the actions they take, rather than their sexual preference,» UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.