New blood donation rules

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Tuesday 28th November 2017

On the 27th November, Scotland saw the new rules on Blood Donation come in to effect. This means that men who have sex with men can now donate blood following a three month deferral from sexual activity. The new rules have also seen a relaxation on the donation criteria for current and former sex workers. It is important to recognise that changes have come to fruition because of advances in scientific technologies that ensure our blood stock remains safe.

Whilst we wait for existing legislation to be changed to end the lifetime ban on people who have injected drugs, there is still more work being done to ensure that our blood donation policies take an individual’s circumstances in to account rather than this blanket policy.

HIV Scotland have been working with other groups in the sector to influence the NHS Blood and Transplant Service as they take forward work to develop an individual risk based assessment process for donating blood. This is the single best way to ensure that the safety of our blood supply is maintained, whilst increasing the number of donors and removing any remaining prejudices. We will continue this work, as a logical step in the reform of the screening process.