Robert: Health Canada removes ban on blood donations from gay and bi-sexual men

Published on April 29th, 2022 @ 10:57 AM


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Health Canada has approved a request from Canadian Blood Services to eliminate the three-month donor deferral period for gay and bisexual men as well as others in the LGBTQ2S+ community. Starting this fall, the national blood donor organization will screen all donors based on their sexual behaviours despite gender or sexuality.

The new policy will see donors asked whether they have recently engaged in anal sex in the context of new or multiple sexual partners within the last few months. If they have, they would not be able to donate until they had gone three months without engaging in that activity.

“We look forward to welcoming new donors into our facilities,” said CEO of Canadian Blood Services, Graham Sher.

The ban on blood from gay and bi-sexual men began in 1992 following when it was discovered that thousands of Canadians had been exposed to HIV due to a tainted blood sample from a donor. It was determined that the Canadian Red Crosshad failed to properly test and screen donors during this time.

In 2013, the outright ban was scaled back to a five-year deferral period, meaning donations could be accepted from a man who had sex with another man as long as that individual had abstained from sexual activity for at least five years. The policy was further adjusted in 2016 to one year, and then to 3 months in 2019.

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