Gay blood donation law may be relaxed further on mainland UK

Michelle O'Neill said the drugs could have a real impact on improving quality of life for patients
Michelle O'Neill said the drugs could have a real impact on improving quality of life for patients

The Department of Health in London has confirmed it will review a law which stops gay men from donating blood for 12 months after having sex.

In the 1980s, gay men were banned completely from donating blood at the height of the HIV/Aids crisis.

This was amended in 2011 to prevent gay men who have had sex in the past 12 months from donating blood and now the Department of Health has said it is time to look again at the issue.

Northern Ireland has only just changed its own laws to bring it in line with the mainland UK, with a de facto lifetime ban on donations from gay men in the Province due to end this September.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “Our expert advisory committee are currently undertaking a review on whether the rules should change and we will base any decisions on their expert advice.”

According to information provided by the Department, men who have sex with men continue to have statistically higher levels of blood-borne infections and sexually transmitted infections than other groups.

Of the 6,151 new cases of HIV in 2014, 54% (3,360) were among gay men.

See: UK blood has become safer, not more dangerous, since gay law was relaxed