Even in 2016 we still have a lot to do to address contradictions in our health care system, especially when it comes to marginalised groups in society.
The current lifetime blood donation ban on anyone who works or used to work in the sex industry in the UK is based on out of date information, and the rules need reviewing to fit the facts of today.
Last week, Terrence Higgins Trust attended the first meeting of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) Donor Selection Working Group, which will advise the review into blood donations, and following the meeting, we launched a survey asking sex workers for their views and experiences.
There is currently a lifetime ban on anyone working in the sex industry in the UK and anyone who used to work in the industry from donating blood, as well as a 12 month ban on their clients. This ban is based on information from the 2011 review, and is out of touch with the reality of conditions like hepatitis C and HIV in 2016.
The review into blood donations was announced by Public Health Minister Jane Ellison MP in November last year, based on guidance issued from SaBTO, and following calls from HIV organisations and activists.
Terrence Higgins Trust wants the review to consider the latest available data, and to deal with the contradictions attached to the lifetime ban on former sex workers and past intravenous drug users, which were not addressed in 2011.
To make a strong case and to influence decision makers, Terrence Higgins Trust needs to represent views and experiences of people directly affected by the current ban – we are asking current or former sex worker please take five minutes to fill out this survey to provide evidence for the review.