More blacks will be able to donate blood after the government announces it will remove a “discriminatory” security question from their donor forms.
Donors preparing to donate blood are no longer asked if they have recently had sex with someone who was previously sexually active in HIV-endemic areas. This includes most of sub-Saharan Africa.
If a person currently answers “yes”, their donation must be postponed until three months have elapsed since their last sexual contact with that partner. This, according to the Department of Health and Welfare (DHSC), can prevent black Africans and other people in long-term relationships from donating blood.
The change has been approved by scientific advisors who deem it safe and are conducting a review 12 months after its implementation. Other questions that target individual behavior, such as: B. Recent trips to areas with high HIV levels, but persist.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said in a statement: “This is another progressive step forward that focuses on individual behavior rather than blanket deferrals and reducing blood donation restrictions.
“This makes it easier for black donors in particular to donate blood and ultimately save lives.”
The DHSC’s move was welcomed by the National AIDS Trust, which said the question that was removed was “actively discriminatory”. Managing Director Deborah Gold said, “Science understands that this is unnecessary and does nothing to improve safety. Instead, it actively prevents urgently needed donors from coming to donate blood. “
The department said it hoped removing barriers to donation would increase blood stocks with the rare Ro subtype that is more likely to be found in people of Black African, Caribbean, or mixed backgrounds and is key to helping people with sickle cell anemia.
In the summer, the government also changed the rules on blood donation by gay and bisexual men. Instead of asking a donor if he’s a man who has sex with men, everyone is asked about their sex life. Anyone who has had the same sexual partner for three months can now donate blood.