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Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

SDLP Health Spokesperson Cara Hunter MLA has welcomed the planned relaxation of rules on donating blood for men who have sex with men (MSM).

The East Derry MLA said that it was an injustice that those who wanted to donate healthy blood were denied the opportunity to help save lives.

Cara Hunter MLA said:

“I am delighted that the Health Minister has signalled his intention to adjust blood donation rules to allow men who have sex with men to make life saving donations provided they have been with the same partner for three months.

“Northern Ireland’s previous position led to a gross injustice where healthy men who wanted to donate blood were prevented from doing so, even during periods of blood shortage. To add insult to injury, we then imported blood supplies from Britain where the rules were markedly different.

“The change from population rules to individual risk assessment, backed by the independent Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs, is welcome, it will protect the integrity of our blood supply and help to save lives.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom