Canadian Blood Services has made a request to Health Canada to change the current lifetime ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood to a five-year deferral. This would mean that any gay man who has abstained from sex with a man for at least five years would be allowed to donate blood.
New Democrats believe that criteria for donating blood for all Canadians should be developed on a behavior based model. The screening process for blood donation would be much safer overall in reducing the risk of transmission of blood borne diseases by focusing on each individuals’ behavior rather than their sexual identity.
While this request from Canadian Blood Services is a step in the right direction, it continues to discriminate against a specific group of people. A five-year ban on the ability for gay men to donate blood is not science based and is still just as discriminatory as a lifetime ban.
Other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom and Mexico have successfully implemented fair and non-discriminatory policies for blood donations. New Democrats call on Canadian Blood Services and the federal government to respect human rights and develop non-discriminatory policies that uphold the safety of our blood supply and encourage the broadest participation in strengthening this important part of our health care system.
Libby Davies, NDP Health Critic
Randall Garrison, NDP LGBTQ Critic