Green Party welcomes end to MSM blood ban

Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA today welcomed the news that the ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men has been lifted.

Steven Agnew MLA said,

“I welcome the removal of one of Northern Ireland’s most discriminatory laws which saw men who have sex with men (MSM) from being denied the opportunity to give blood.

“All blood is screened for safety and it is only right that this ban be lifted after it was found that the Department for Health had no evidence with which to uphold it.

“That the new policy is to come into effect so quickly, on 1 September, is to be commended.

“It is wrong that it has taken years of campaigning and around £50,000 of public money has been wasted in opposing this change by previous ministers

“The blood ban is only one of many areas in which the LGBTQ community has been discriminated against and I will continue to push for action on health inequality, IVF access, adoption and trans healthcare.”

Anthony Flynn, Chair of Queer Greens added,

“It is great news that the blood ban has been lifted, bringing Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK.

“However MSM will be required to abide by a one year deferral system. The SABTO recommendations need to be kept under review so that we can move to a blood donation system that treats everyone as equals while ensuring that the highest patient safety standards are maintained.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

SABTO is the Advisory Committee on the safety of blood, tissues and organs which advises government and health departments on the most appropriate ways to ensure the safety of blood, cells, tissues and organs for transfusion / transplantation.

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