WINNIPEG, Canada — A change to the blood donation laws in Canada approved in May by Health Canada at the request of Canadian Blood Services went into effect this week. They allow men who have sex with men to donate blood if they report they haven’t had sex in the last five years, the Winnipeg Free Press reported last week.
The previous rule was that having had sex with another man at any point rendered one ineligible for donation. Canadian Blood Services said it requested the changes because screening procedures have advanced in recent years.
“We see it as a positive step forward, but more needs to be done,” Brent Farrington, internal coordinator for the Canadian Federation of Students, who lobbied for the change, said.
“Under the current system as it exists, two men who have been in a monogamous relationship for 45 years can’t give blood, whereas a heterosexual man who has engaged with multiple sexual partners in the last three months is more than welcome to donate to the system,” the Winnipeg Free Press quoted him as having said.
Blood bank workers told the Free Press creating such donation thresholds would “eliminate too many potential donors,” the article said.