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NAT Welcomes SaBTO Public Meeting on Blood Donor Exclusions

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Following today’s public meeting Blood Donation – Selection, Deferral and Exclusion held by SaBTO (Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs), Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust) comments:

“We welcome SaBTO’s proactive review of the blood donor bans which we called for.  Today’s public meeting was a constructive discussion.  SaBTO were open about their review progress to date.

Prior to the meeting NAT asked SaBTO to consider the impact on risk to the blood supply of more reliable testing technology and to consider options of fixed-term bans rather than a lifetime ban of men who have had sex with men. 

SaBTO reported today that changing the lifetime ban on men who have had sex to a five year deferral, alongside new testing technologies, would not increase risk to the blood supply.  In addition SaBTO acknowledged the need to consider the different degrees of risk associated with different sexual behaviours between two men.

More work needs to be done to study issues of compliance of donors and also to research the risk from other viruses, but today’s discussions are a welcome step forward.

We are excited by the possibility of lifting the blanket ban on men who have ever had sex with another man donating blood and we will be continuing our dialogue with SaBTO.” 

Notes to the editor:

Read more about NAT's position on the blood donor exclusions here.

For further information please contact: 
Katherine Sladden
Communications Officer
020 7814 6733

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
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