The Federal Government announced last week that it has approved the plan that would reduce the time that gay men are celibate before donating blood. Canadian Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor says the period between donating blood would be going down to three months from its former one year. The request for the reduction of the ban comes from Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec and makes Canada the fourth country to reduce the ban to this length, right after Scotland, England, and Wales.
After many years, scientific evidence has shown that reductions have not affected the number of HIV positive donations. Up until 2013, Canada had a lifetime ban on MSM (men who have sex with men) blood donations for anyone who engaged in sexual activity with another man after 1977. In 2013, it was changed to 5 years, then reduced by one in 2016, and finally brings us to where we are now.
Health Canada said in a statement that it is a “significant step towards eliminating the deferral period entirely” and that the change “ensures that Canada remains a global leader in safe, non-discriminatory blood donation.”
Blood/blood products are crucial in many lifesaving medical procedure and there is always a constant need for them in Canada. If you’re like me and not too comfortable with medical procedures, have no fear! There are no health risks associated with giving blood and the process is over in practically no time.
For more information about donating and the ban, head on over to Canadian Blood Services