Northern Ireland Lifts Gay / Bisexual Male Blood Donations Ban w/ One Exception.

I've never donated blood.  I actually may never will. But there are many LGBT members that feel it is a civil duty as well as an honor to donate blood and help fellow citizens.

Blood bans are ever changing for gay and bisexual men across the globe.  We can add another country to the list of realizing that the ban may be a hindrance more so than a help.  This week Northern Ireland changed its LGBT blood donation policy.

Northern Ireland's lifetime ban on gay men donating blood is to be lifted.

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill said the new policy will come into effect on September 1.

At present in Northern Ireland, any man who has had sex with another man is banned from giving blood permanently.

A ban on gay men donating blood was brought in across the UK during the 1980s AIDS crisis, but was lifted in England, Scotland and Wales in November 2011.

Northern Ireland retained the permanent ban. –



Ms O'Neill said on Thursday that she would lift the ban in favour of a '"one-year deferral system" as is the case in the rest of the UK.  This means that gay and bisexual men can give blood one year after their last sexual contact with another man.

Michelle O'Neill said: "The safety of donated blood depends on two things: donor selection and the testing of blood.  Every blood donation is tested for HIV and a number of other organisms. Not even the most advanced tests are 100% reliable, so it is vitally important for every donor to comply with any deferral rules that apply to them. I will instruct the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service accordingly."

Mark H Durkan, from the SDLP, said the ban had led to a "ludicrous situation" in which gay men could not donate blood but people in Northern Ireland could still receive blood from the rest of the UK "where there was no such ban".

"Today is a victory for common sense and for equality," he added. "I only regret it took so long for the Department of Health to lift the ban and remove some of the prejudice against gay people in the north." –

Progress is progress. 

Are you in favor of a zero ban and a zero month waiting period?

Do you think the waiting period is a good idea?



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