The changes will mean that eligibility to donate will be based on a more individualised assessment rather than on a risk assigned to a group or population, and deferrals will be based on behaviours evidenced to be at a higher risk of sexual infection.
Donors will no longer be asked if they are a man who has had sex with another man. Instead, any individual who attends to give blood - regardless of gender - will be asked if they have had sex and, if so, about recent sexual behaviours.
Prior to the announcement of the new policy, new male donors were asked if they had had sex with a man in the last 3 months. If they had, they were ineligible to donate.
The new, individualised risk-based policy is a more inclusive approach to blood donation, which asks questions in a gender neutral way, meaning for the first time ever, everyone will be asked the same questions regardless of their gender or sexuality.
The changes follow an evidence-based review by the FAIR (For the Assessment of Individualised Risk) steering group led by NHS Blood and Transplant which concluded that switching to an individualised, gender neutral approach is fairer while maintaining the safety of the blood supply.
Thanks to the tireless work of campaigners and LGBTQ+ charities, the UK blood supply continues to be one of the safest in the world and is pioneering the way for more people than ever before to safely donate.
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