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Rule change to allow gay men to give blood

Updated screening process 'more inclusive' says government

A rule change announced this morning will allow gay men on the Isle of Man to give blood for the first time.

Government says, from 1 June, all donors will be subject to the same screening process regardless of their sexuality or gender.

Previously, men who had sex with men were not permitted to give blood - a rule criticised last year by Manx actor Joe Locke at a recorded address to Isle of Pride.

The Department of Health and Social Care and Manx Care say they have now updated the screening criteria based on the latest evidence relating to blood donation and sexual behaviour presented by the FAIR steering group (For the Assessment of Individualised Risk) making the process more inclusive.

It adds, the screening questions have also been redesigned to ask all potential donors about recent illnesses, medications, travel or sexual activities that may prevent them from donating - a safety check it assures is confidential and ensures donors are fit to give blood and it's safe for patients to receve.

This safety check is confidential, and aims to ensure that donors are fit to give blood and that their blood is safe for patients to receive.

Health Minister Lawrie Hooper says: ‘Without people donating blood we wouldn’t be able to provide some of the lifesaving care that helps patients survive traumatic injuries, surgeries or chronic illnesses. Making our donation policy fairer and more inclusive was important to us and to our community.’

Dr. Marina Hudson, Manx Care’s Interim Executive Medical Director, says: ‘Changing the blood donation eligibility and screening process on the Island has been something we have been striving to do for a long time now, and so I’m really pleased that this important step forward is being made. We continue to follow the most stringent screening and testing guidelines both prior to and following donation as part of a risk-based approach that is in line with best clinical practice for this vital service.’

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