Many people who want to donate blood cannot do so easily (symbol picture)
Photo: Anindam Ghosh / EyeEm / Getty Images
By the end of the year, the British government wants to abolish a blood donation rule in England that has long been denounced as discriminatory against blacks.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said that "it will be easier for black donors in particular to donate blood in the future."
This would ultimately save more lives.
Scotland and Wales had already lifted the rule last year.
Potential blood donors in England are currently being asked whether they have had sex with a partner who has been or may have been sexually active in parts of the world where AIDS and HIV are prevalent - this affects much of sub-Saharan Africa.
If you answer “yes”, you will be excluded from donating blood for a period of three months after the last sexual contact.
Donation security not affected
According to the Ministry of Health, this could deter donors of African origin and their partners from donating blood.
The abolition of the rule is expected to lead to more donations of rarer blood groups, "without compromising safety."
Other questions about assessing the risk behavior of potential donors as well as recent trips to countries where HIV is rampant would remain, the ministry added.
It also pointed to extensive testing of donated blood to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
According to him, the lifting of the restriction will also be reviewed after one year.
The National Aids Trust group welcomed the abolition of this "obsolete, unnecessary and discriminatory issue."
In June, the UK eased its blood donation restrictions for homosexual and bisexual men.
The changes allow homosexuals and bisexuals to donate their blood even if they have had an active sex life in the past three months - provided that it was only one partner.
The Netherlands has similar regulations.
Men who have sex with men have recently been allowed to donate blood there if their last sexual contact was less than four months ago.
But only if they are in a monogamous relationship.
It is planned to accept homosexuals without a steady partner as blood donors from next year, it said.
First, it will be checked whether the current easing is working.
In Germany, too, there have been discussions in the past about a blood donation rule that de facto excluded most homosexual men from donating: They were only allowed to donate if they had not had sex for a year.
This regulation was changed in September: Now you can donate blood four months after your last sexual contact.
Björn Beck from the board of directors of Deutsche Aidshilfe welcomed the fact that "instead of group membership, real HIV risks should play a greater role in the future."
The problem of discrimination against gay and bisexual men will not be resolved.
For them, monogamy is made a condition for a blood donation.
In addition, the separate mention of trans people is "simply stigmatizing".
Israel went one step further this year.
Homosexual men are allowed to donate blood there without restriction.
From now on, the registration form will no longer distinguish between homosexual and heterosexual people.
kry / AFP