Whosever said that political activism was folly has thus been proven wrong for it is true indeed that the ban on MSM Blood Donations has now officially been lifted! This has been announced and publisised in several key sources including the BBC and the Metro... however it isn't a complete victory.
The lifting of the ban is conditional, in complex terms the doner must not have engaged in MSM for at least a year before they can donate blood. In simple terms this means that if Mr Magic were to have sex with, oh lets say Mr... Science. We would both have to wait a year after our romantic evening before either of us would be allowed to donate blood, even though neither of us have ever been diagnosed with HIV. In fact even if we both got tested, then had sex, then waited three months and got tested again... with all the tests coming back negative for HIV... we would still need to wait another 9 months without having sex, before we would be allowed to donate blood.
The scientific basis for this is that there is a three month period, after catching HIV, where the virus is undetectable and so this time lapse is to allow the virus to become visible to the tests. Now, I could understand if the rule was that gay men had to wait three months after having sex with a new sexual partner, that would be completely scientifically justified... but twelve months of celebasy is not.
I am also, however, aware of the political context that we are currently in. It was very recently that the House of Lords Released a Study called "No Cure No Vaccine" (or something along thoughs lines) which documented an increase in people catching HIV and though I cannot prove it, I am sure that this study did have some impact on the 12 month rule. This 12 month rule is also applied to people who have injected illegal drugs or had sex with prostitutes (and their sexual partners).
Whilst I do not endorse applying the same rules as we do for prostitutes and drug addicts onto the gay community,I can say proudly that any lifting of the ban is a step in the right direction, not only because for what it means for gay equality, but also because it shows without a shadow of a doubt that direct political activism does actually achieve results.
Let the Doubters Doubt... You Just Need To Keep Campaigning!