PEERS Alliance says end to ban on gay blood donation has been 'a long time coming'

·1 min read
Gay men must abstain from sex for at least three months before donating blood under current rules. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - image credit)
Gay men must abstain from sex for at least three months before donating blood under current rules. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - image credit)

The PEERS Alliance is welcoming a proposal by the Canadian Blood Services which would end a ban on blood donations from sexually active gay men.

The community organization, which offers supports for Islanders who live with HIV and all sexually transmitted infections, says the recommended change of policy would do a lot to help end harmful stereotypes surrounding the gay community.

"The status-quo approach is unfortunately very much rooted in, kind of, initial approaches to blood screening which were founded in the 1980s during the HIV crisis, and so much has changed," program co-ordinator Angele DesRoches said.

"The reality is that that focus on a specific community or a specific population is so out of touch with current scientific realities."

Under current rules, gay men must abstain from sex for at least three months before donating blood.

The changes would make it so all potential donors are instead asked a set of questions with regards to their sexual activity.

People with new or multiple partners will be asked whether they've engaged in anal sex. If they answer yes, they will be told to abstain from donating any blood for three months.

Health Canada must approve the proposal before the changes come into effect. The government agency is expected to respond to the recommendation by the spring.

DesRoches said the change has been decades in the making.

"This has been a long time coming and a long discussion with stakeholders at every level," she said. "The goal is really non-discriminatory and scientifically based policy, so this is a significant step in that direction."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting