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NUS welcomes end to lifetime gay blood ban after years of campaigning

Thursday 8 September 2011 NUS News

NUS today welcomed the Department of Health’s decision to end the lifetime ban on men who sleep with men (MSM) donating blood.

The NUS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Campaign was one of the first organisations to call for an end to the discriminatory policy more than seven years ago.

The campaign has continued until today and tens of thousands of petition signatures have been gathered, and hundreds of direct actions have been run, through the ‘Donation not Discrimination’ campaign.

See pictures from the campaign here.

Whilst NUS is delighted that after the long campaign there has been huge progress towards the total abolition of the ban on donations from men who sleep with men they are seeking clarification from the Government as to why there is still a deferral period of one year after the male donor has last had sex with a man.

A statement from NUS LGBT Officers, Vicki Baars and Alan Bailey, says:

“Ending the lifetime ban has been a key objective of the NUS LGBT campaign and we welcome the Government’s action on this. Donating blood is a responsibility - one in which low risk men who sleep with men should be able to exercise without fear of prejudice or discrimination.”

“We are disappointed that the Government has chosen not to publish research to support its decision to introduce a 1 year deferral for with men who sleep with men donating blood. It is absolutely critical that organisations such as NUS working together with the LGBT community have the opportunity to look at and properly analyse the research used to justify the deferral period.”