Policy paper

Donor selection criteria review

Evidence considered by SaBTO in its recommendation to change to the current donor deferral for men who have had sex with men.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


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SaBTO completed a review of the evidence base for the blood donor selection criteria relating to sexual behaviour in May 2011. As a result, they recommended to UK Health Ministers a change to the current donor deferral for men who have had sex with men. SaBTO’s recommendation has been accepted by the Health Ministers of England, Wales and Scotland.  The change means that in future only those men who have had anal or oral sex with another man in the previous 12 months, with or without a condom, will be asked not to donate blood.  Men whose last relevant sexual contact was more than 12 months ago will now be able to donate, subject to meeting the other donor selection criteria.

SaBTO is publishing the evidence they considered when making the recommendation.  (This paper also covers the blood donor selection criteria relating to commercial sex workers; SaBTO is undertaking work to identify further evidence before deciding whether to recommend a change to the donor deferral criterion for this group.)

Published 8 September 2011