Wales

Blood donation rules for gay men in Wales may be relaxed

Man giving blood Image copyright Getty Images

Blood donation rules for gay men and sex workers could be relaxed in Wales, the Welsh Government has said.

Currently gay men have to wait 12 months after their last sexual activity to give blood, while sex workers are barred from donating.

England and Scotland are relaxing the rules so both groups can donate three-months after their last sex act.

The Welsh Government has said it will carefully consider advice on whether to follow suit.

Officials in Cardiff will work with the Welsh Blood Service to consider recommendations in a UK report, which have led to the rule changes in England and Scotland.

The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs - which advises UK health departments - made the recommendations after concluding new testing systems were accurate and donors were good at following the rules.

All blood that is donated in the UK undergoes a mandatory test for Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, plus a couple of other viruses.

Tattoos

The committee said men who have sex with men should be able to give blood three months after their last sexual activity instead of 12. Sex workers, who are banned from giving blood, should also be subject to the same three-month rule.

The UK government is also considering relaxing the rules for people who have undergone acupuncture, piercing, tattooing and endoscopies, and for those with a history of non-prescribed injecting drug use.

But these also need changes to current EU legislation.

The changes in Scotland take effect in November, and in early 2018 in England.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "We will now be working closely with the Welsh Blood Service to carefully consider the new recommendations and the implementation of changes to blood donor section criteria."

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