There has been much fulminating from Sinn Fein, Alliance et al on the lifetime ‘gay blood’ ban with the blame being directed at the DUP ‘bigots’.
A number of points. Most countries in the world currently have such a lifetime ban - Northern Ireland is far from unique.
The rest of the UK, the Republic and every country with deferrals still has a ban on active gay men giving blood.
Blood donations organisations across the world have very similar lists of high risk groups - men who have sex with men, drug users, sex workers and having sex in Africa (and people who have had sex with any of the mentioned).
All the science and evidence still point to these groups being deemed high risk.
The NHS website states: “All groups that are excluded or deferred from blood donation have been assessed as being at a statistically increased risk of carrying blood-borne viruses…….The criteria are based on complex assessments of risk and must by their nature be based on evidence and statistics that are recorded at a population level.”
The UK government advisory committee, SABTO, states that the risk of transfusion of HIV infected blood would increase if men who have sex with men were allowed to donate blood.
If testing has improved dramatically to such an extent that bans and deferrals are no longer required - then the question has to be asked why Sinn Fein and Alliance are not asking for the lifetime bans to be removed from all such high risk groups?
Alan Day, Mid-Ulster UKIP