Posted on: 14/05/21
June 14th marks World Blood Donor Day – a day to raise awareness for the need of safe blood and blood products, in addition to celebrating the selfless individuals who regularly donate the lifesaving gift of their blood.
The number of new blood donor registrations in the UK has been turbulent in recent years, with new registrations dropping from 509,009 in 2018/19, to 416,381 in 2019/20.
Understandably, the COVID-19 pandemic has discouraged people from visiting donation centres due to the risk of contracting the virus.
However, as lockdown restrictions lift and the pandemic is better controlled, UK Blood Services expect to see an influx of new donors.
A Welcome Change in Legislation
This World Blood Day also marks a landmark change in legislation, which will allow more members of the LGBT community to donate their blood.
Currently, any man who has sexual intercourse with another man within three months of the donation date cannot donate blood.
Under the changes, people can donate if they have had the same sexual partner for the last three months, and there is no known recent exposure to an STI or recent use of PrEP or PEP. This will mean more men will be eligible to donate.
NHS Blood Services have struggled in recent years with increasing demand for rarer blood types.
For example, it is estimated that around 8% of the UK population has O-negative blood, however, O-negative blood makes up nearly 1/6 of all blood requests, as anyone can receive the red cells from O-negative doners – making it an important resource during emergencies when the patient’s blood type isn’t known.
This new change in legalisation will hopefully facilitate an influx in new donor registrations from members of the LGBT community and ultimately, an increase in the supply of rarer blood types such as O-negative blood.
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