Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Call for review of gay blood ban

A gay rights group today urged the Health Minister to review his position on blood donation as Government restrictions in the rest of the UK are relaxed.

From today, men in England, Scotland and Wales who have not had homosexual sex within a year will be able to donate if they meet certain other criteria.

Edwin Poots has still not made a decision on the matter but has agreed to meet representatives from the Rainbow Project next week.

Matthew McDermott, equality officer at the organisation, said: “We will continue to urge the Minister to follow best advice and bring Northern Ireland |into line with the rest of the UK.”

Gay men will be able to give blood from today as Government restrictions are officially lifted, the Department of Health said.

A lifetime ban on blood donation by men who had had sex with another man was put in place in the UK in the 1980s as a response to the spread of Aids and HIV.

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