England to remove another ‘discriminatory’ barrier to blood donation

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By the end of this year, potential donors will no longer be asked if they have recently had sex with a partner who has ever been sexually active in “parts of the world where HIV/AIDS is very common” HO, which includes most of sub-Saharan Africa.

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Currently those who answer “yes” are deferred for three months after the last sexual contact with that partner.

“In practice, this current rule in England means that someone who is in a long-term, monogamous relationship or who has ever lived in Africa will likely be unable to donate blood,” said British MP Taiwo Owatemi, MP Coventry North West, and Luton North MP Sarah Owen wrote a letter to Health Secretary Sajid Javid last month.

Owatemi and Owen’s letter, published on the website for the British HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said the question “serves as a significant barrier for many people who wish to donate blood, and it costs the NHS comes on. [National Health Service] The current effort of blood and transplants to give blood to more black people.”
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The NHS website says: “At the moment we need black donors because there has been an increased demand for certain rare blood types that are more common in people of black heritage.”

“People who are of Black African, Black Caribbean, and Black mixed ethnicity are more likely to have a rare blood sub-group, such as RO, that many black sickle cell patients require. This change is important for people to donate. The continued need for rare blood types,” the UK Department of Health said in a news release.

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The Department of Health said the question would be removed from donor safety screening in England after research by the Fair (for the Assessment of Individual Risk) by the Steering Group and supported by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissue and Organs (SABTO). .

This question has already been removed in the developed countries of Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has not announced the change.

Deborah Gould, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, said in a statement: “We are pleased that the Secretary of State has confirmed that this outdated, unnecessary and actively discriminatory question will be removed from blood donor screening forms.

“The science is clear that this is unnecessary and does nothing to improve safety. Instead, it actively prevents much-needed donors from coming forward to give blood, especially from black communities. Change will take a long time.” and we warmly welcome today’s announcement.”

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid called it “another progressive step forward, focusing on individual behaviour, not blanket deferrals, and lowering the limits for people to donate blood.”

“This will make it particularly easy for black donors to donate blood, which will ultimately save lives,” Javid said.

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Credit : www.cnn.com

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