Canada Lifts Ban on Blood Donations From Men Who Have Sex With Men

Canada on April 28 lifted a three-month ban on blood donations for men who have sex with men that has long been criticized as discriminatory.

Instead, all donors, regardless of gender or sexuality, will undergo a screening process for high-risk sexual behaviors.

The move follows a meeting of a group of scientific and medical experts on April 13.

Health Canada also cited research that said that from all the samples tested, current risks of contracting HIV from the blood supply estimated to be “very low.”

Health Canada called the move “a significant milestone toward a more inclusive blood donation system nationwide.”

The change comes after Canadian Blood Services submitted a request last year to Health Canada to remove the deferral period and replace it with behavior-based screening questions.

At a press conference in Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the current approach “discriminatory and wrong” and said that the change was long overdue.

In the last decade, Canada has progressively lowered the donor deferral period for men who have sex with men, from a lifetime ban to three months in 2019.

Countries around the world, including France, Britain, and Spain, recently lifted similar restrictions on blood donations.

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