A more sensible policy on accepting blood from "men who sleep with men"
- Terrance Higgins Trust, NHS Blood Donor Service
- United Kingdom
The purpose of this group is to lobby the Terrance Higgins Trust, the leading HIV and sexual health charity in the UK to change its stance on the ban on men who sleep with men.
WHAT DO TERRANCE HIGGINS TRUST SAY ON THE BLOOD BAN:
We believe that the current policy of the National Blood Service is justifiable and was based on the best available evidence when it was drawn up. Unless a subsequent review finds that risks to the blood service have changed the current policy is sensible and pragmatic.
It is our belief that the blood ban is based on fundamentally flawed assumptions and stereotypes of gay/bisexual men and is therefore unjustifiable and discriminatory.
Even a man who has had gay sex only once in his life, perhaps more than 40 years ago, is prohibited from donating blood. He is banned even though he last had sex with another man BEFORE the outbreak of HIV.
We are all constantly bombarded with emotionally charged adverts calling for us to donate blood and to prevent a large segment of society from donating blood is simply unacceptable.
ISN’T IT DISCRIMINATION TO BAN GAY MEN FROM GIVING BLOOD?
What THT say:
Gay men aren’t banned from giving blood, men who have sex with men (MSM) are. The ban is based on a specific behaviour not on sexuality in itself. A man who self defines as gay but has never had sex with another man is welcome to give blood. A man who does not self define as gay but has had sex with another man is banned.
What we say:
Whilst this is technically true, it is a meaningless point to make. Most gay men have had sex with another man at least once on their lives. They are all banned. It is discriminatory.
HOW IS IT FAIR THAT A GAY MAN WITH ONE SEXUAL PARTNER IS BANNED, WHILE A HETEROSEXUAL MAN CAN HAVE 300 SEXUAL PARTNERS AND ISN’T BANNED?
What THT say:
It’s important to look at how statistical modelling is done. A straight man with 300 sexual partners would be a statistical anomaly. The projections are based on research about what happens across populations and the truth still is that men who have sex with men are far more likely to contract HIV during the course of their regular sex life than men who have sex with women, or women who have sex with men. Anomalies do exist but it is still reasonable to run statistical projections and assessments of risk based on general epidemiological data rather than individual cases when looking at the integrity of the blood supply.
What We Say:
Whether it is 300, 200, 50 or 20, people who have many sexual partners are more at risk from passing on HIV and other sexually transmitted illnesses then a gay man with one sexual partner. A man who has had 300 sexual encounters may be an anomaly, but he is an anomaly that could lead to HIV being transferred through blood. It is more reasonable to look at each case individually then rely on statistical models.
We believe that the LIFETIME ban on "men who sleep with men" from donating blood is fundamentally wrong.
It feeds on stereotypes that men who sleep with men are promiscuous and careless. A straight man who has unprotected sex with a different girl every weekend can give blood TODAY whilst a man who had safe sex with another man 20 years ago is banned.
The blood ban lumps together all gay men, without differentiation. There is a wide diversity of gay sexual behaviours and lifestyles as there are within heterosexual men and women.
The A more sensible policy on accepting blood from "men who sleep with men" petition to Terrance Higgins Trust, NHS Blood Donor Service was written by Matthew Edwards and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.