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Ulster blood donation law change in line with rest of UK.

Byline: SHEENA MCSTRAVICK

CHANGES to blood donations in Northern Ireland mean we are in line with laws in Great Britain.

Officials say the changes will maintain the safety of supply while allowing more people to donate.

A lifetime ban on blood donation by men who have had sex with men (MSM) was introduced in the UK and many other countries in the 1980s in response to the emergence of Aids.

In 2011, the UK expert group on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs found the evidence no longer supported the measure and health ministers in England, Scotland and Wales adopted a oneyear deferral for MSM. But the ban remained in in Northern Ireland until September 2016.

This has now been reduced to three months under the new rules.

Health Minister Robin Swann explained: "Any one of us may require a blood transfusion in the future and we need to be confident that blood is safe. "It is of utmost importance we maintain the safety of blood and I'm confident the new policy I am announcing today will do that, while allowing more people to donate.

"My decision is based solely on evidence."

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Author:SHEENA MCSTRAVICK
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 30, 2020
Words:198
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