A campaign in Wales, which is aiming to give gay, bi and MSM (men who have sex with men) the right to donate blood in line with everyone else, is calling for reform.
The current law in Wales states that any man who has sexual relations with another man (gay, bisexual, MSM) must abstain from such sexual activity for a period of three months prior to donating blood.
This waiting time does not apply to heterosexual blood donors, regardless of how many sexual partners they’ve had.
Campaign Coordinator at Blood Equality Wales, Alexander Bryant-Evans had this to say,
“This could be respected as a justification, if it applied to everyone. Afterall, bloodborne pathogens such as HIV can and do infect people of all sexualities, gender and race.
“Yet on grounds of sexuality, only gay and bisexual men are subjected to this law of forced abstinence before donating blood.”
Blood Equality Wales believes this to be unfair, unjust and blatantly discriminatory. Their campaign is looking to challenge and change the law here in Wales around gay and bisexual (MSM) blood donation.
A fairer more modern approach is called for
Campaign Coordinator Arron Bevan-John says,
“Blood Equality Wales advocates the use of a fairer, more modern approach. Instead of a sweeping, generalised law targeting all gay and biseuxal men, we would like to see a more individualised approach implemented by the Welsh Government on the issue of blood donation.”
This approach would take the individual and their actions into account, as opposed to an automatic imposition of a deferral period purely because of the individual’s sexuality.
Ending abstinence for those who do not engage in high-risk sexual activity
Blood Equality Wales believes that this approach would allow more gay and bisexual men, who do not engage in high-risk sexual activity, to be able to freely donate blood without having to undergo a period of abstinence first.