Health Canada Reduces Blood Donation Ban For Gay Men To Three Months
Canada has reduced the deferral period for blood donations from gay and bisexual men from one year to three months…
Health Canada has approved a request from the Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec to reduce the blood donation ban on men who have sex with men from one year to three months.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor made the announcement on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.
“It’s a very significant announcement… As a result, men who have sex with men will be able to give blood after a deferral period of three months,” she said.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Canadian Blood Services said the policy change will take effect on Monday, June 3, 2019.
In November 2018 the health minister said that a change to the discriminatory policy was coming soon, after receiving an application from both blood donation agencies to change their criteria on how much time must pass between men who have sex with men being sexually active and becoming eligible to donate.
Health Canada is the regulator that approves the blood agencies’ requests to update their policies.
This is the third reduction for gay, male donors within the past 7 years. The last change took place in 2016 when the deferral period was brought down to one year from a five years, which was in effect from 2013 until 2016. Prior to 2013, a lifetime restriction on donating blood in Canada was in place for any male involved in sexual relationships with another male after 1977.
In the release, Canadian Blood Services also explained that the previous reductions have not caused any increase in HIV-positive blood donations.
In recent years, the Canadian government has faced endless criticism from the LGBTQ community that any ban remains at all, after promising in 2015 to end it altogether.
During the last federal election, the Justin Trudeau’s Liberals called the ban “discriminatory” and said that the policy “ignores scientific evidence and must end.”
Liberal MP and special adviser to the prime minister on LGBTQ2 issues Randy Boissonnault said this development is a “big win” for the LGBTQ community.
“The research continues into the behavioural-based model, we’re still working on the file… it demonstrates what happens when government follows the science,” Boissonnault said.