Marking National Blood Week, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to end the ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) giving blood.
Currently, UK Government guidelines prevent MSM from donating blood if they have had sex with another male within the preceding twelve months. Proponents of the ban argue that MSM are more likely than any other group to contract HIV, but figures for 2012 show that more people contract HIV through heterosexual sex than homosexual sex.
Welsh Lib Dem AM Peter Black raised the issue in the Welsh Assembly earlier today. The Welsh Minister for Government Business agreed to ask the Minister for Health and Social Services to look at the matter further.
Peter Black AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Equalities Minister, 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.
“The sooner this unfair and discriminatory ban is lifted, the sooner our blood services can benefit from a greater supply of donated blood and more lives can be saved.”