Current rules prevent gay or bisexual men who have engaged in oral or anal sex within the past three months from donating blood. However, these rules are set to change, allowing men who have sex with men (MSM) to be able to donate blood in the same way as all other blood donors.

Under the current rules, there are considerations for gay and bisexual men who wish to donate blood. The rules state that MSM who wish to donate blood must abstain from anal sex for three months prior to their blood donation appointment.

According to, the current three-month period for gay and bisexual men is in place for two reasons. Firstly, anal sex bears an increased risk in terms of acquiring some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV. Secondly, waiting three months provides a reliable ‘window period’ for any infections to be detected once the blood is tested after donation.

How have the rules for MSM changed over time?

Before 2011, gay and bisexual men were not able to give blood. Then, in 2011, the rules allowed MSM to give blood, but only after abstaining for 12 months. In 2017, this was shortened to a 3-month wait. The new rules, set to be introduced in 2021, look at individual situations and consider that every donor carries a risk, rather than categorising all MSM under the existing restriction.

This means that all blood donors will be treated the same. Those who have had only one sexual partner and have been with that partner for at least three months will be able to donate, regardless of:

  • Their gender
  • Their partner’s gender
  • The type of sex engaged in (vaginal, anal, oral).

Do I need to test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) before giving blood?

Once you have given blood, various tests will be performed at the laboratory which will detect any infections and ensure that all blood donated is safe. Therefore, it is not a requirement to get tested for STIs beforehand.

However, if you are concerned about bloodborne infections or other STIs, it is always advised to get tested and take care of your health. Better2Know can help you to get tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis and many more. We also offer a range of screens designed specifically for MSM. Speak to us in confidence today.


[1] BBC News: Blood donation: Rule change means more gay and bisexual men can give blood

[2] Men who have sex with men (MSM)

[3] Tests we carry out on your blood

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