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Canada: Ban may be eased for gay male blood donors

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The Calgary Herald
|
December 5, 2012
Issues: 

Canadian Blood Services’ proposed changes to blood donor eligibility do nothing to lessen discrimination against gay men, according to one local AIDS awareness organization. Currently, any man that has sex with another man, even once, is prohibited from donating blood for life. But, if approved, Canadian Blood Services’ upcoming submission to Health Canada will see the ban relaxed from life to a minimum of five years and a maximum of 10 years from the last relevant sexual contact. Susan Cress, executive director for the AIDS Calgary Awareness Association, said the change wouldn’t decrease the stigmatization of the male gay population. “A relaxation on the ban I don’t think really takes us any step forward to equality or to good sound, evidence-based decision making,” Cress said, pointing to the fact Canadian Blood Services already screens every blood donation for HIV. “So if they take somebody’s blood, screen that blood and conduct an HIV test on that blood, and it’s negative, then they should be able to move forward and use that donor supply and have these individuals become part of building a stronger blood supply in Canada.”