Councillors in Britain’s gay capital have called for strict rules restricting blood donations from homosexual men to be relaxed.
A lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men giving blood was lifted in 2011 but still applies to those who have had same-sex relations within the previous year.
Green councillors at Brighton and Hove City Council say the rule is “discriminatory” and are tabling a motion to get the timescale reduced to six months.
Blood supplies in the area are at an all-time low and fewer than five per cent of the population regularly donate.
Councillor Alexandra Phillips said: “The current rules are still discriminatory and are not backed by analysis of risk.
“Good science would support a six-month window before donating blood after a possible risk, for all donors, on the basis that tests for HIV and Hepatitis C can detect infection within that time.
“The health service desperately needs safe blood donations, but this discrimination bars perfectly healthy men from helping to save lives.
“It is possible to have a safe donor system based on the prevention of harm yet which does not discriminate.”
Fellow councillor Mike Jones, an NHS sexual health adviser, added: “It’s absolutely crucial that blood supplies are safe and there should be proper measures in place to deal with risky individuals.
“But these rules mean in practice the vast majority of healthy gay and bisexual men are prevented from donating.
“The result is we cut the supply of safe blood to the NHS while high-risk heterosexual donors remain free to donate.”