US-Navy Storekeeper 3rd Class Robert Franke donates blood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The government has been urged to review rules banning men who have sex with men from donating blood “gay blood ban”, amid a critical lack of donors.

A much-publicised ‘Missing Type’ campaign is this week raising awareness of the dwindling blood supplies for National Blood Week, to encourage more people to donate.

However, men who have sex with men are still banned from giving blood – with a 12-month deferral following sexual contact in England, Scotland and Wales, and a permanent ban in Northern Ireland.

Amid the crisis, a number of groups have urged the government to reconsider the process.
Peter Black of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

“National Blood Week has brought to our attention that the blood service needs 204,000 extra donors to meet demand. Given this huge demand for blood donors, I completely fail to understand why the ban on men who have sex with men giving blood is still in place.

“This ban not only turns away thousands of willing and healthy potential donors, but it also serves to reinforce negative stereotypes about gay and bisexual men. Straight people get HIV too, and all donated blood is tested for HIV and other diseases before being transfused for precisely that reason.

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