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NHS Improves Blood-Donation Rules For Gay and Bisexual Men

NHS Invites More Gay and Bisexual Men to Give Blood in New Changes to Donation Eligibility

PRODUCTION - 06 May 2021, Lower Saxony, Emstek: Katrin Kruse (l), employee at the NSTOB blood donation service of the German Red Cross (DRK), takes blood from donor Sebastian Haske. In 2021, the German Red Cross will celebrate a special anniversary - it will be 100 years old. Photo: Hauke-Christian Dittrich/dpa (Photo by Hauke-Christian Dittrich/picture alliance via Getty Images)

To celebrate World Blood Donor Day on Monday, 14 June, the UK government improved the NHS blood-donation safety checklist to include gay and bisexual men. The new changes to the NHS blood-donation eligibility will be based on health, travel, and sexual behaviour. If a prospective blood donor has had the same sexual partner for the past three months they will be eligible to donate blood regardless of gender. Previously, NHS Blood and Transplant assigned a higher risk to queer men donors and it is now moving towards a more individualised assessment of donors rather than focusing on a social group or population.

"Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do," Ella Poppitt, the chief nurse for blood donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said in a press statement. "This change is about switching around how we assess the risk of exposure to a sexual infection, so it is more tailored to the individual. . . . We are asking all blood, plasma and platelet donors to please consider the new questions alongside the existing health and travel questions before their appointment, and to re-schedule if they do not meet the changed criteria to donate right now. We want donation to be a positive experience and we are looking forward to welcoming donors as we move forward with these changes."

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