England to remove another ‘discriminatory’ barrier to blood donation

By the top of this yr, potential donors will now not be requested if they’ve lately had intercourse with a associate who might ever have been sexually energetic “in elements of the world the place HIV/AIDS is quite common”, which incorporates most of sub-Saharan Africa.

Presently those that reply “sure” are deferred for 3 months after the final sexual contact with that associate.

“In sensible phrases, this present rule in England signifies that somebody who’s in a long-term, monogamous relationship with somebody from or who has ever lived in Africa would most likely be unable to donate blood,” British lawmakers Taiwo Owatemi, MP for Coventry North West, and Sarah Owen, MP for Luton North, wrote in a letter to Well being Secretary Sajid Javid final month.

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Owatemi and Owen’s letter, printed on the web site for British HIV and sexual well being charity the Terrence Higgins Belief, stated the query acted “as a major barrier for many individuals who may wish to donate blood, and this comes on the expense of the NHS [National Health Service] Blood and Transplant’s present push to get extra Black folks to provide blood.”

The NHS web site says: “For the time being we want Black donors due to an increase in demand for some uncommon blood sorts which can be extra widespread in folks of Black heritage.”

“People who find themselves Black African, Black Caribbean and of Black blended ethnicity usually tend to have the uncommon blood sub-group, similar to Ro, that many Black sickle cell sufferers want. This transformation will present extra alternatives for folks to donate for the continuing want for rarer blood sorts,” the UK’s Division of Well being stated in a information launch.

The well being division stated that the query can be faraway from the donor security test in England following analysis by the Honest (For the Evaluation of Individualised Threat) steering group and supported by the Advisory Committee on the Security of Blood, Tissues and Organs (Sabto).

The query has already been eliminated within the devolved nations of Scotland and Wales. Northern Eire has not introduced a change.

Nationwide AIDS Belief chief government Deborah Gold stated in an announcement: “We’re delighted that the Secretary of State has confirmed this outdated, pointless and actively discriminatory query can be faraway from blood donor screening kinds.

“The science is obvious that that is pointless and does nothing to enhance security. As a substitute, it actively prevents a lot wanted donors coming ahead to provide blood, significantly from Black communities. The change is lengthy overdue, and we warmly welcome in the present day’s announcement.”

UK Well being Secretary Sajid Javid known as it “one other progressive step ahead, specializing in particular person behaviours, slightly than blanket deferrals, and decreasing limitations for folks to donate blood.”

“It will make it simpler for Black donors particularly to donate blood, finally saving lives,” Javid stated.

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