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Tim Farron backs safe blood donation

July 31, 2015 4:00 PM
Tim Farron MP at the LGBT+ Lib Dems Summer Strategy Conference 2012

Tim Farron MP at the LGBT Lib Dems Summer Conference 2012

Tim Farron MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, has this week backed the Freedom to Donate campaign, which claims "those who wish to donate blood and can do so safely, should be able to donate blood".

In an article for Huffington Post, Tim said: "I'm proud to say that the Lib Dems have, with many others, been campaigning since 2006 to end to the ban on gay men donating blood, and in 2011 we won a partial victory. This removed the restriction on gay men - but only if they had been celibate for 12 months. By any standards this seems like a pretty high price to pay for the privilege of selflessly offering a gift that literally saves lives. Thousands of lives across the UK every day - possible even those of our parents, grandparents, children and loved ones.

"And, strangely, it has created a situation where blood is accepted from lots of other groups who, on the evidence, are at higher risk of contracting HIV and other blood-borne infections than gay men. So while gay men practicing safe sex are banned from donating, straight men and women who may well engage in far riskier practices are not. And many women married to bisexual men are banned, even if their husbands are not, because there is a 12-month ban for women who have slept with men who have ever had sex with another man. This patently doesn't make sense - and it is frankly inexcusable that we have a prurient statutory policy that discriminates against and stigmatises gay and bisexual men, transgender people, and those who sleep with them."

LGBT+ Lib Dems chair Dave Page added, "National blood donation policy was not good science when the Lib Dems adopted party policy for blood donation to be based on individual risk, it wasn't when the twelve-month deferral was brought in and it isn't now. This campaign is in line with existing Lib Dem policy. I am glad that Tim is backing this campaign for sensible blood donation rules which takes into account an individual's risk. It will lead to more safe blood being donated and more lives being saved."