A blood donor clinic pictured at a shopping mall in Calgary, Alta., Friday, March 27, 2020. Canadian Blood Services has today recommended that Canada end the ban on gay men donating blood, in a submission to Health Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

A blood donor clinic pictured at a shopping mall in Calgary, Alta., Friday, March 27, 2020. Canadian Blood Services has today recommended that Canada end the ban on gay men donating blood, in a submission to Health Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Blood service recommends Health Canada end gay blood donation ban

Organization says evidence shows that the change would pose no safety risk to the blood supply

Canadian Blood Services has today recommended an end to the ban on sexually active gay men donating blood in a submission to Health Canada.

It submitted a proposal, backed by research, suggesting that screening focus on high-risk behaviour — including having multiple sexual partners — by all donors instead.

Federal ministers, including the prime minister, have said they want to speed up an end to the gay blood ban, and Health Canada is expected to respond to the blood-service recommendation by the spring.

Currently, men can only give blood if it has been more than three months since their last sexual contact with a man.

The blood service said its goal is to stop asking men if they have had sex with another man.

It says research it has conducted, and evidence from abroad, shows that the change would pose no safety risk to the blood supply.

Health Canada must approve the recommendation before it can be implemented.

The blood service has suggested that the new screening questions be changed to focus on risk, not sexual orientation. All potential donors would be asked if they have had new or multiple sexual partners. If they answer yes, they would then be asked if they have had anal sex.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: Gay activist upset at Ottawa’s attempt to block challenge of blood-donation ban

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