A weakened safeguard which protects against HIV contaminating the blood supply should be removed because it is homophobic, the Liberal Democrats’ conference has heard.
A stronger safeguard, which prevented men who had ever had sex with men from giving blood, was weakened earlier this month.
From November men whose last sexual contact with another man was more than 12 months ago will be allowed to donate blood in England, Scotland and Wales.
But this week delegates at the Lib Dems’ annual conference passed a motion which called for the complete removal of the weakened safeguard.
One party member claimed the new rule was an example of “institutionalised homophobia”.
However, a spokesman for the Department of Health said: “The 12-month deferral reflects the heightened risk of sexually active men who have had sex with men from blood-borne viruses.
“At a population level, figures show HIV levels remain at one in 20 in this community compared with one in 1,000 in the heterosexual community.”
Following the weakening of the blood safeguard The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge warned the new rule was a “huge cave-in to the demands of the homosexual lobby”.
He wrote: “After lobbying by homosexual campaigners, we have now arrived at a situation where homosexuals have the right to donate blood regardless of the increased medical risks.
“This is the Alice-in-wonderland world of the equality agenda.”