It was announced in September 2011 that the lifetime ban on men who have sex with men (MSM) donating blood in England, Scotland and Wales would be relaxed.
Since 1983 men who have sex with men have been banned from donating blood to the National Blood Service to reduce the risk of onward transmission of HIV. Read more about the background.
The independent review body answerable to Government for the safety of blood products, the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO), recommended changing the ban to a deferral period for male donors who have sex with men, of one year since oral or anal sex with another man. Northern Ireland has decided to maintain the lifetime ban on donations from men who have sex with men (MSM) despite the recommendations. Find out more about the review.
Terrence Higgins Trust, as the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity, provides services to around 100,000 people every year, a significant proportion of whom are gay and bisexual men. Terrence Higgins Trust has been an integral partner, with a small number of other community and charitable groups, in the review that has led to the current changes in the regulations. We welcome the Government’s decision to accept and act upon the recommendations of this review, which are supported by all major HIV charities and clinical bodies. More about our involvement.
We will continue to work in the future with SaBTO and the National Blood Service to review the regulations as evidence moves on, and also to ensure that the policies are communicated in appropriate ways.
The National Blood Service - Can I give blood?