The NHS will make the questions it asks of all blood donors gender-neutral from next month, allowing more gay and bisexual men to donate blood.
The change, which will come into effect on 14 June, will allow more people from LGBT+ communities to be able to donate, the service said. Under previous NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) guidelines, male donors were asked to disclose whether they have had sex with another man.
The new Donation Safety Check form will ask all donors, regardless of gender, the same questions about their recent sexual behaviour. The NHSBT said the change will mean that eligibility to donate will be based on a more individualised assessment rather than on a risk assigned to a group or population.
Lord Bethell, the minister for blood donation, said in a statement that the change marks a “significant step forward” to making blood donation policy “fairer and more inclusive”, allowing as “many people as possible to make the life-saving decision to give blood safely”.
Under the new changes, those who have the same sexual partner for the last three months or if there is no known recent exposure to an STI or recent user of PrEP or PEP can now donate. The NHSBT said this will mean more gay and bisexual men will be eligible to become blood, plasma and platelet donors.
Donors who have had anal sex with a new partner or multiple partners in the last three months will not be able to give blood but may be eligible in the future. But individuals can donate as long as they have not had anal sex with a new partner or multiple sexual partners in the last three months.