After years of restrictions the rules surrounding blood donation are finally set to change for some more parts of the UK. The Isle of Man is set to permit blood donations from gay and bisexual men from 1st June.
For many years, any gay or bisexual man was unable to donate blood. The rules were that a man who reports having sex with another man in the past three months is not eligible to give blood. This, therefore, includes gay and bisexual men in ongoing sexual relationships with one other person.
In 2021 the rules were changed so that the new donor questions will no longer consider the gender of the person donating or that of their sexual partners.
Under the changed rules, someone is asked to defer their donation if they report anal sex with new or multiple partners in the past three months. Anal sex with one partner in the past three months, when that sexual relationship pre-dates three months, will not exclude a person from donating blood.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) agreed to update the rules on the Isle of Man following a call from Manx Netflix actor Joe Locke last year.
A government spokeswoman said eligibility to donate would “now be based solely on an assessment of their individual experiences. All donors, regardless of their sexuality or gender, would go through the same screening process”.
In the UK, only around 7% of adults currently donate blood, though this could improve thanks to changes to rules for gay and bisexual men and also a fear around giving blood and needles.
Punching Up’s Florence Hill went to give blood to prove that it really isn’t that bad.