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New NHS eligibility rule allows monogamous gay men to donate blood.

Posted on June 2021 By Jamie Southwell

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Officially introduced on World Blood Donor Day and during Pride Month were a new set of eligibility rules stating donors will no longer be asked about their sexual preferences.

Today, on the 14th of June 2021, the government confirmed the changes to the pre-existing blood donation checklist, which will now eliminate the process of making monogamous gay men wait three months before donating blood.

Instead, those of any gender engaging in anal sex with new or different partners within the previous three months will have to wait three months prior to donating blood, platelets, and plasma.

The Chief Nurse for NHS Blood and Transplant spoke about the recent changes to the system across England, Scotland, and Wales. She said “Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do.”

“This change is about switching around how we assess the risk of exposure to a sexual infection, so it is more tailored to the individual.”

Continuing by explaining the importance of safety. She stated, “We screen all donations for evidence of significant infections, which goes hand-in-hand with donor selection to maintain the safety of blood sent to hospitals.

"All donors will now be asked about sexual behaviours which might have increased their risk of infection, particularly recently acquired infections. This means some donors might not be eligible on the day but may be in the future."

The evaluation that brought about the adjustments to the checklist, was carried out from a review by the Fair (For the Assessment of Individualised Risk) Steering Group. Ultimately deciding on a gender-neutral and individual-focused priority was important and fairer when donating blood.

Those looking to donate will now be asked if any of the below are applicable to their previous three months:

  • Have previously carried any sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV)

  • Have had ‘Chemsex’ (Classed as sexual activity under the influence of stimulant sexual enhancement drugs such as poppers, excluding cannabis, alcohol, viagra.)

  • Have had anal sex with different partners or a new sexual partner with or without a condom or other protection.

If answered yes for any of the questions, the process will be terminated and will require a three month waiting period to apply again.

Other questions that will be asked:

  • Whether when participating in anal sex with multiple partner, the use of condoms or protection are involved.

  • Whether taking pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (Prep) continuously.

  • Whether ever contracted syphilis.

Additionally answering yes to any of those questions will make you ineligible to donate blood.