Dr. Francis Githae who is based in the UK was forced to air his concerns after he was stopped from donating blood to his African wife unless she tested negative for HIV or they agree to refrain from sexual intercourse for three months.
As per the UK rules in line with the National Health Service, his Kenyan wife was to be tested for HIV/ AIDS even though Francis had tested negative.
Dr. Francis who is an obstetrician and gynecologist in the East Midlands raised his complaints and called upon the UK policymakers to consider reviewing their laws since there is a high demand for black donors in the country.
“I am upset that because I am African and I have had intercourse with an African (my wife), I have been refused to donate blood until my wife goes for HIV testing. I wonder how many Africans will return with their partners in tow for them to be tested for HIV so that they can then be cleared to donate.
“Which other system in the world has “having wife tested” as a prerequisite? Even so, HIV knows no ethnic or geographical borders. You say that UK African donors are only 2% but erect nonsensical barriers when we come forward! Your guidelines need revising,” Githae lamented.
In response, NHS confirmed that indeed their rule clearly states that one cannot donate blood if a recent sexual partner may have been sexually active in parts of the world where HIV or Aids is common, including “most countries in Africa”. However, they stated that his case would be reviewed.
According to an explanation by Su Brailsford, an NHS consultant the rules for the donation were based on expert advice to minimize the risk to those receiving the blood.
“We recognize that a more individualized risk assessment approach could allow more people [like Dr Murĩithi] to donate safely. We are planning a detailed review of this policy which we hope to begin before the end of the year,” Brailsford stated as quoted by BBC.
Githae who has been married to his wife for 7 years mentioned that his wish is for all people to be accommodated to donate blood and did not want to appear to be a troublemaker.
“I’m glad they are reviewing it, they need a more individualized approach,” the Kenyan doctor added.