Government Of Canada Partially Lifts Blood Donation Ban For Gay Men
This is a move in the right direction, say gay rights advocates
This morning, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced that the ban for men who have sex with men will be lifted starting today. The news came earlier today when Petitpas Taylor addressed press members atop Parliament Hill.
Up to now, men who have sex with other men have had to wait one year since their last sexual encounter before giving blood. According to the Health Minister, men who have sex with other men will now only have to wait three months since their last sexual encounter before donating blood.
The Hema-Quebec website states that men who have sex with men (MSM) are currently ineligible to donate blood "if the last sexual contact with a man was less than 12 months ago."
They reason that this is because a man who had sex with a man is at higher risk for HIV than the general population (around 10% of MSM have HIV, compared to 1% of heterosexual and lesbian people).
In 2016, the deferral period for MSM was five years, but it was reduced to a period of twleve months. Hema-Quebec goes on to state that "the 12-month temporary exclusion is based on scientific findings."
The Canadian Blood Agency and Hema-Quebec both pushed for a reduction in how much time must pass between a homosexual encounter and when they are eligible to give blood.
Starting today, the wait period has been lifted from twelve months to three months. People who have had a tattoo or piercing also have to wait three months before giving blood.
Restrictions are also in place for drug users, pregnant women, and people who are underweight.