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Bradshaw welcomes end of discrimination against gay men in blood donation

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed the Health Minister’s announcement that rules on blood donation will now come fully into line with the rest of the UK, removing the effective discrimination against gay men.

Robin Swann announced the changes, which will come into effect on June 1, which will mean a three-month deferral for gay men donating rather than a 12-month period after their last sexual activity.

“The original ban and then the differential arrangements from the rest of the UK on the donation of blood by gay men constituted blatant discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and brought shame on Northern Ireland. It is welcome this discrimination will now be removed,” said South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw.

“The expert advice had been clear for years, and it should not have taken us so long to reach this stage. It is to be hoped this is a clear step towards removing the sort of outrageous political interference from clear scientific advice which saw the original ban remain in place five years longer than it should have.

“This is good news for the health service because the alignment of blood donation arrangements will make management of donation simpler, and in particular it is good news for the LGBT community and society as a whole, as we send a clear message discrimination against them will not be tolerated.”