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End the discrimination - let gay people give blood

February 21, 2008 8:01 AM

At the party's Spring conference in Llandudno, Welsh Lib Dem youth wing MIDR Cymru is calling for an end to homophobic prejudice when it comes to a major branch of the health service. The National Blood Service currently bars some men from saving lives - based entirely on their sexual orientation.

Paul Harding, chair of MIDR Cymru, said: "In all other areas of life, Wales accepts that people should not be victims of prejudice based on their sexual orientation. Yet gay men are the victims of discrimination in the health service in the 21st century.

"A significant proportion of the population are prevented from giving blood, by this narrow minded, old-fashioned stance."

In Australia, gay men are allowed to give blood. Due to shortages in the UK blood service, Australian blood has been imported to the UK. Yet gay men are still barred from giving blood in the UK.

Mr Harding added: "Gay men are part of society. They should have the same rights as everyone else. It's time to end the prejudice and let gay men save lives too."

Notes:

MIDR Cymru - Myfyrwyr a Ieuenctid y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru has put forward the following motion for debate at the Welsh Liberal Democrat conference in Llandudno this weekend.

The debate takes place at 11.10 on Sunday February 23

Practising Homosexuals and Giving Blood

(Submitted by / Cyflwynwyd gan: MIDR Cymru)

Conference notes:

1. The UK Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantations Service guidelines, which govern the Welsh Blood Service, state that male homosexuals "Must not donate if: has ever had oral or anal sex with another man, even if a condom or other protective was used".

2. All potential blood donors are screened for diseases including HIV, Hepatitis B, & Hepatitis C, regardless of their stated sexual history.

3. HIV contraction is not limited to practising homosexuals.

4. That blood transfusion is an important public service, and currently demand for donated blood outweighs supply.

Conference believes:

1. That the Welsh Blood Service should be encouraging blood donations from all groups of people.

2. That being a practising homosexual does not infer HIV contraction, and that the rates of heterosexual HIV contraction are rising within the UK.

3. That the refusal to even screen practising homosexuals is ultimately harmful to the potential beneficiaries.

4. That the policy on practising homosexuals giving blood is discriminatory.

Conference calls for:

1. The Welsh Blood Service to work with the UK Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantations Service to eliminate this policy.

2. For the Welsh Assembly Government to encourage the Welsh & UK Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantations Service to eliminate this policy.

3. The Welsh Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson to write to the Welsh &UK Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantations Service, informing them of this policy.