NAT's Position on Current Restrictions on Blood Donation

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), comments:

“NAT is not convinced by the justification put forward for the current lifetime ban for men who have ever had sex with another man and anyone who has ever injected drugs or ever received payment in money or drugs for sex. We are campaigning for the National Blood Service to review the restrictions.

“The test for HIV used by the blood service is not the most reliable test currently available. Furthermore, the only two options considered as an alternative to the current lifetime ban are no restrictions at all and a one year ban – but there are alternatives such as the New Zealand five-year ban. A lifetime ban becomes increasingly indefensible when, for example, there would be next to no one alive with undiagnosed HIV fifteen years after they were infected. 

“The National Blood Service has said it is willing to review the ban if there is any new evidence. But it should be doing more. Instead of an essentially passive approach it should be proactive in questioning this outdated policy and looking for an alternative to a blanket ban.”

Responding the news that two student unions have banned the National Blood Service advertising for blood donation, Deborah Jack added:

“We would never condone a ban on advertising for blood donation, as maintaining the blood supply is vitally important, but this action by some Student Unions shows the strength of feeling about the current restrictions on blood donation.”

Letter to Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs  

NAT has written a letter to the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood Tissues and Organs asking for a proactive review of all lifetime blood donation bans.

Notes to the editor:

For further information please contact Katherine Sladden, Communications Officer, / 020 78146733


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.

Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.