Lifetime Ban on Gay Blood Donation to Be Lifted in Parts of UK

A lifetime ban on blood donation by gay men, put in place during the AIDS crisis 25 years ago is set to be lifted in England, Scotland, and Wales, though restrictions will still remain, the BBC reports:

Blood Ministers have agreed to let men who have not had sex with another man in the past 12 months to donate from November. The restrictions were put in place in the 1980s to prevent the risk of HIV contamination. However, the latest medical evidence presented to a government panel argued the ban could no longer be justified. Ministers in the three countries accepted the argument and said they would be relaxing the rules. Northern Ireland is expected to make a decision soon.

In the U.S., men are banned by the FDA from giving blood if they have had sexual intercourse with another man at any time since 1977.

Extremist hate groups continue to use the ban to justify their demonization of gays.

Just a month ago, American Family Association's Bryan Fischer mentioned it. He said:

"I think this is one of the reasons where our argument is infallible…is the danger that homosexual contact imposes to human health. I gave blood here several weeks ago and I was asked three times…have you as a male ever had sex with another male one time since 1977. If I had answered yes, I would not have been able to give blood.  The risk to the nation's blood supply is so severe that the risk that active homosexuals pose to the nation's health, to the nation's blood supply is so severe that if a man has had sex even one solitary time since 1977 – cannot donate blood. That, ladies and gentleman, tells you all you need to know."


  1. Mike says

    The ban is ridiculous and encourages and perpetuates homophobia. If the FDA wants to continue down this path they should be asking sexual orientation neutral questions such as have you engaged on unsafe sex practices, etc.
    The fricken blood is tested anyway. I used to give blood on a regular basis but since this ban has been in place I have refused. I don’t have HIV and am perfectly healthy. What a waste…

  2. aki says

    The ban is NOT ridiculous. And it’s also not meant to be discriminating. It’s about eliminating risk factors and if you like it or not gay men have the highes HIV rates. And I do the testing and even with the newer antibodies/antigene test the testing window is still there . And no I don’t feel bad for not being able to donate blood

  3. ratbastard says

    and how are brit blood bank authorities suppose to check if they really haven’t had sex with a dude for 12 months?

    if aids had been treated as a serious public health hazard in the beginning and especially throughout the 80s [like syphilis is,for example, or highly contagious tb], MANY lives [including many totally innocent people infected by tainted blood] could have been saved. people with aids should have been strictly quarantined once it was discovered what we were dealing with. MANY lives could have been saved.

  4. Mike in the Tundra says

    @Tommy I jumped onto this comment thread to make the same point. A straight guy could be frequenting prostitutes on a weekly basis and still donate blood.

  5. ratbastard says

    AIDS NEVER materialized into a pandemic among ‘straights’ in America,western Europe, the way it has among homosexuals/bisexuals, intravenous druggies. Men who have sex with men and/or intravenous druggies pose far greater risks than ‘straights’.

  6. ratbastard says

    In America / Western Europe, for a dude to get AIDS from a female, even a female pro, is very rare. Female to male transmission is quite rare. Male to female is far more common.

  7. ratbastard says


    HOW do they know if someone is LYING? AIDS is still a deadly and very expensive disease to treat. And methods for detection are far from perfect.

  8. jason says

    This is still a highly homophobic policy by the British blood bank. A heterosexual male who has anal sex with many female prostitutes can give blood but a homosexual male who does it with one male partner can’t. How utterly discriminatory.

    Of course, if you’re a promiscuous lesbian, no questions asked.

  9. jason says

    AIDS is not a gay illness. Never has been. It isn’t an illness that is caused by sexual orientation nor is it an illness that is linked to the purported gay gene.

    Those gay guys who persist in linking AIDS to gay men are probably highly promiscuous themselves. They choose to live lives of extreme promiscuity and simply cannot imagine that there are gay men who have morals and who are faithful to one man.

    Memo to the promiscuous gay male set: I don’t see why we moral gay men should be lumped in with you. If you choose to live hedonistic lifestyles, do it at your expense and stop trying to include us moral gay men under your “gay togetherness” umbrella.

  10. says

    @Ratbastard – The same way we “know” that folks are telling the truth in answering every other question on their survey: we are forced to take them at their word and do random checks of the donation supply.

  11. says

    @AKI – I never said we shouldn’t. Wanting to reform the absurd aspects of regulations in place doesn’t constitute support for anarchy. I have as much faith in receiving the blood of a gay man who has been celibate or in a monogamous relationship for years as I do a straight man or woman. It makes no medical sense to ban all potential blood donors because they’ve had sex with another man even just once since 1977. I can understand such paranoia back in the 1980s but not now. We are actually hurting the blood supply by automatically denying a potentially large pool to contribute. Given the lack of donors the blood banks usually have even among the pool they currently are able to beg from that hardly seems to be wise. I don’t have a problem with placing more limits on men who have sex with men than those who’ve only had sex with women, but within reason and only targetting the riskiest behaviors. Such a blanket ban as currently exists I strongly oppose.

  12. ratbastard says

    actuaries study the risks. if risks are very high [with correspondingly dire potential results, i.e. life-threatening] then blanket bans are understandable. insurance premiums would become intolerable without them.

    i’ll say this: aids/hiv is pretty manageable among the general gay population, although stds are still a huge issue especially pertaining to gay men. however, aids/hiv is statistically astronomically high among people of color, males AND female. there is no blanket ban on black folks, but there is on gays. why?

  13. says

    Don’t be absurd, Rat. If anyone has recently had unprotected sex with a new partner, they shouldn’t give blood. That’s already a requirement. Simply banning gay people is heinous; the first requirement is non discriminatory and would be plenty enough to safeguard the blood supply. It’s what many or even most democratic republics do today, so I think we can manage it, too.

    I loath self-loathers.

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