England to remove another ‘discriminatory’ barrier to blood donation

By the tip of this yr, potential donors will now not be requested if they’ve not too long ago had intercourse with a associate who could ever have been sexually energetic “in parts of the world where HIV/AIDS is very common”, which incorporates most of sub-Saharan Africa.

Currently those that reply “yes” are deferred for 3 months after the final sexual contact with that associate.

“In practical terms, this current rule in England means that someone who is in a long-term, monogamous relationship with someone from or who has ever lived in Africa would most probably be unable to donate blood,” British lawmakers Taiwo Owatemi, MP for Coventry North West, and Sarah Owen, MP for Luton North, wrote in a letter to Health Secretary Sajid Javid final month.

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Owatemi and Owen’s letter, printed on the web site for British HIV and sexual well being charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, mentioned the query acted “as a significant barrier for many people who may wish to donate blood, and this comes at the expense of the NHS [National Health Service] Blood and Transplant’s current push to get more Black people to give blood.”

The NHS web site says: “At the moment we need Black donors because of a rise in demand for some rare blood types that are more common in people of Black heritage.”

“People who are Black African, Black Caribbean and of Black mixed ethnicity are more likely to have the rare blood sub-group, such as Ro, that many Black sickle cell patients need. This change will provide more opportunities for people to donate for the ongoing need for rarer blood types,” the UK’s Department of Health mentioned in a information launch.

The well being division mentioned that the query can be faraway from the donor security examine in England following analysis by the Fair (For the Assessment of Individualised Risk) steering group and supported by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (Sabto).

The query has already been eliminated within the devolved nations of Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has not introduced a change.

National AIDS Trust chief govt Deborah Gold mentioned in a press release: “We are delighted that the Secretary of State has confirmed this outdated, unnecessary and actively discriminatory question will be removed from blood donor screening forms.

“The science is evident that that is pointless and does nothing to enhance security. Instead, it actively prevents a lot wanted donors coming ahead to give blood, notably from Black communities. The change is lengthy overdue, and we warmly welcome at present’s announcement.”

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid called it “another progressive step ahead, specializing in particular person behaviours, somewhat than blanket deferrals, and decreasing limitations for individuals to donate blood.”

“This will make it simpler for Black donors specifically to donate blood, finally saving lives,” Javid mentioned.

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