Health Canada approved Canadian Blood Services' submission to eliminate the three-month donor deferral period for gay and bisexual men as well as some other people in the LGBTQ2S+ demographic, CTV National News reported.
The national blood donor organization will screen all donors based on higher-risk sexual behaviors, regardless of gender or sexuality.
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) plans to introduce the new behavior-based questionnaire approach "no later" than Sept. 30. It will apply to both blood and plasma donations, outside of Quebec.
The policy started in 1992 as an outright lifetime ban following the tainted blood scandal that played out between the 1980s and 1990s and had thousands of Canadians infected with HIV after receiving donor blood. During that scandal, the Canadian Red Crossthe predecessor to Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebecfailed to properly test and screen donors.
In the United States, current FDA policy bars men from donating blood if they've had sex with another man within three months, WGBH noted. However, researchers and advocates argue that the ban does not account for screening tests that have been developed since the donation ban was first put in place, and that there are many circumstancessuch as long-term monogamous relationshipsin which a man having sex with another man may not put him at risk for contracting HIV.