5.27 a.m., October 11, 2021
The UK government has announced that it will abolish a blood donation rule that discriminates against blacks. The change will make it “easier, especially for black donors, to donate blood and ultimately save more lives,” explained Health Minister Sajid Javid. Currently, prior to donating blood in the UK, interested parties are being asked whether they have had sex with someone who may have been sexually active in an AIDS region.
One of the regions where HIV is rampant is sub-Saharan Africa in particular. If potential donors answer yes to the question, they will be excluded from donating blood for a period of three months after the last sexual contact with the person concerned.
According to the Ministry of Health, this could deter donors of African origin and their partners from donating blood. According to the ministry, the abolition of the rule at the end of the year will allow more donations of rarer blood types “without compromising safety”.
The National Aids Trust group welcomed the elimination of this “obsolete, unnecessary and discriminatory issue”. In Scotland and Wales the rule was abolished last year. Additional questions about assessing the risk behavior of potential donors and recent trips to countries where HIV is endemic will be retained.
In June, the UK eased its blood donation restrictions for homosexual and bisexual men. The changes allow homosexuals and bisexuals to donate their blood even if they have had an active sex life in the past three months – provided that it was only one partner.