The UK on Tuesday lifted a ban on commercial sex workers donating blood, an official said.
The Department of Health (DOH) announced new changes to rules on blood donation, saying it will maintain the safety of the blood supply and will enable more people to donate.
The lifting of ban followed recommendations from the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO). New groups of people now able to donate after three months have passed since the last sexual activity include commercial sex workers and men who have had sex with another man.
People, who have had sex with a partner at high risk of having a sexually transmitted infection, will also be able to donate blood. Until now commercial sex workers were permanently excluded from blood donation, and the other groups had to wait until 12 months had passed before they could donate.
The rules are now consistent for all groups that are deferred due to sexual behaviours. A spokesman for the DOH said: The new rules will allow more people to donate blood, without affecting the safety of the blood supply. Dr Gail Miflin, Medical and Research Director at NHS Blood and Transplant said:
“The SaBTO review took into account the latest available medical and scientific evidence. This included more information about the risk of acquiring infections that can be passed on in blood, more evidence on how well donors comply with our guidelines and also more evidence that supports the reliability of the blood screening tests we use. “We have one of the safest blood supplies in the world.
“Anyone may require a blood transfusion in the future and so it’s in all our interests to ensure that we work hard to keep blood safe for patients.” Before every donation, all donors must complete a donor health check and have a private health screening where they may be asked confidential questions.