A partial ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood will be lifted in a move campaigners have hailed as a “huge” step forward for equality that will help save those in need of life-saving operations.
Currently, the rules prevent men who have had oral or anal sex with another man in the previous three months from donating blood.
The overhaul is designed to move away from a policy of blanket restrictions based on sexual orientation and to one of individual risk-based assessment.
“The UK is leading the way in ensuring that blood donation is more inclusive and now will allow many more gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men to donate blood,” says Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director for the Terrence Higgins Trust
It means men who have sex with men in a long-term relationship will now be able to donate blood at any time.
The changes will be implemented by summer 2021.
All blood donors who have had one sexual partner and who have been with their sexual partner for more than three months, will now be eligible to donate regardless of their gender, the gender of their partner, or the type of sex they have.
The law will be changed across the UK to allow anyone who has only slept with one other person in three months to donate. And it will bring heterosexual people into line with the LGBT+ community by applying the policy equally to people of all sexual orientations.
Ethan Spibey, 28, set up the campaign group Freedom To Donate after his grandfather Ken needed eight pints of blood for a life-saving operation back in 2010.
“I made a promise that I would repay a donor who saved my granddad’s life,” Mr Spibey told Sky News.