Northern Ireland is making no significant difference to the safety of its blood supply by permanently banning gay men.
Northern Ireland’s blood ban is doing nothing, a court heard England, Scotland and Wales, men who have sex with men can give blood if they abstain from sex for 12 months – whereas in Northern Ireland they are banned for life.
Successive Health Ministers in Northern Ireland have refused to lift the permanent ban on gay men donating blood in Northern Ireland, fighting a costly legal battle despite the Health department admitting to having “no evidence” whatsoever to continue the ban.
Amid a legal challenge to the rule, the Court of Appeal this week heard that former Health Minister Edwin Poots insisted on keeping the rule in place because he was scared of ‘contamination’, despite increased testing and the weight of scientific evidence.
It’s actually one every 15,625 years, by our maths, so we’re due a mix-up by the year 17,640… and we’re hoping HIV will be eradicated long before then
Adding that the DUP minister had defied professional advice on the issue, Mr Scoffield said: “The minister’s own professional adviser was supporting the change, the chief medical officer was supporting the change.”
Current Health Minister Simon Hamilton, who vowed to be guided by science on the issue, has so far ducked calls to end the ban.