UK Kinda Almost Lifts Gay Blood Ban

September 9th, 2011

A vampire lunges through a doorway while a man remarks: "Wait... It's been a full year already? Well this is just great."

The United Kingdom has removed its lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men, replacing it with a one year deferral since the last time a donor has had sex with someone of the same gender.

So, yeah—essentially, nothing has changed.

Well, I suppose at the very least it’s an acknowledgement that the lifetime ban (which Canada still has, incidentally) was never scientifically sound. Nonetheless, I wish that questionnaires would stop singling out gay men and simply ask about risky sexual practices for everyone. This can include the number of sexual partners, whether or not the donor has unprotected sex, is non-monogamous, etc.

In western nations, gay men undeniably have a higher incidence of STDs, but heterosexuals are far from immune; in fact, the fastest growing HIV demographic in Canada is young heterosexual women, accounting for a quarter of all new infections. I have no reason to doubt the situation is similar in the UK, yet monogamous gay couples are deferred for a year every time they have sex, even if both partners have been tested—simply because they’re gay. Silly.