Canada Ends Blood Donations Ban for Gay Men

Canada Ends Blood Donation Ban for Gay Men

Canada is lifting its ban on blood donations for gay men who are sexually active as part of an effort to create a “more inclusive” system

Canada said on Thursday it is lifting a ban on blood donations from gay men (defined as sexually active men who have sex with men), first imposed decades ago, Reuters reports.

The new guidelines is to screen all potential blood and plasma donors for “high-risk sexual behaviors,” regardless or sexual identity. Under this new criteria, Canadian Blood Services spokesperson explained, only guys who has had anal sex with a new partner will have to wait three months before donating (instead of three months with no sex for all gay men before donating).

The change is expected to take effect by Sept. 30.

“Today’s authorization is a significant milestone toward a more inclusive blood donation system nationwide, and builds on progress in scientific evidence made in recent years,” Health Canada said in a statement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the change, saying, “It’s been a long time coming.”

“The current approach was discriminatory and wrong. This is a significant milestone for moving forward on both the safety of our blood supply, but also, nondiscriminatory blood practices,” Trudeau said.

“This should’ve been done 10 years ago, 15 years ago,” the Canadian Prime Minister said, “but the research, science, investment to be able to ensure that our blood supply continues to be safe, based on data, based on research, simply wasn’t done by any previous government.”