A UK-based Kenyan doctor protested after he was blocked from donating blood owing to his relationship with his wife, also a Kenyan.
Francis Githae Muriithi, an obstetrician and gynecologist in the East Midlands, was told he could not donate blood due to the tough rules enacted by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
The regulations state that people cannot donate blood if their recent sexual partner has been sexually active in parts of the world where HIV is prevalent, including most African countries.
But Muriithi, 38, termed the rules as nonsensical, saying NHS must review the system to encourage more black donors, BBC reported.
He noted that he has been married to his wife for seven years and the two have been in a monogamous relationship.
Despite testing negative for HIV, Muriithi was told he could not donate blood unless his spouse is also tested through the donation service or if they refrained from sex for 90 days.
Muriithi, a resident of Gamston, Nottinghamshire and who has the rare AB+ blood type, said these requirements are unnecessary since he already tested negative for HIV.
"It's a nonsensical barrier to donation. If you lock out people like me and then carry on saying African donors are not coming forwards, it will make us look bad when it's the system not facilitating us.”
"I don't want to appear to be a troublemaker but the NHS blood donation system needs to change to accommodate more people,” he said.
NHS Blood and Transplant said it was contemplating reviewing Dr. Murĩithi's case.
"I'm glad they are reviewing it, they need a more individualized approach," said Muriithi.
NHS has been making appeals for more black blood donors to come forward as they are more likely to have rare blood types.
Su Brailsford, an NHS consultant, defended the rules saying they 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," she said.