The public health minister in the United Kingdom is expected
to lift the ban on gay men donating blood. The British government says that a
blanket ban is discriminatory and breaches equality legislation.
The caveat? The lifting of the ban will apply only to gay
men who have not had sex with other men for 10 years.
The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and
Organs found that banning gay men from giving blood if they had not had sex for
five years would increase the risk of blood supplies being contaminated by five
percent. The committee said that
risk would be halved if the ban were extended to gays who had not had sex for 10 years.
In Canada, if a gay man has had sex with a man even once
since 1977, he is banned from donating for life. Xtra recently reported that a gay
man contesting the ban has withdrawn his lawsuit against Héma-Québec.