May 8, 2019 12:16 pm
Updated: May 8, 2019 12:41 pm

Health Canada lowers blood donation abstinence period for men who have sex with men

WATCH: Health Minister, Liberal MP call lowering of blood donation abstinence 'big win' for LGBTQ community

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The blood donation waiting period for men who have sex with men has been lowered to three months instead of a year, Canadian Blood Services says.

According to a release from the blood donation organization, Health Canada approved its request to lower the abstinence period by nine months to bring Canadian requirements in line with other countries.

READ MORE: Canada’s limitations on gay blood donations ‘ridiculous’: HIV researchers

“This is a significant step towards eliminating the deferral period entirely,” a statement from the health minister reads.

“Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec continue to work towards behavioural-based screening.”

WATCH: Canadian Blood Services walks Global News through the donation process


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The changes will take place on June 3, 2019 within Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec.

It’s the third time Health Canada has lowered the deferral period for men who have sex with men. Initially, they had a lifetime ban, but that was lowered to a five-year deferral period in 2013 and a one-year deferral period in 2016.

READ MORE: Blood donation ban for gay men dropped to 1 year from 5

“These evidence-based reductions to the original lifetime restriction have not resulted in any increase in HIV-positive blood donations, and we know we can continue on this path with the utmost confidence in Canada’s blood system,” the statement reads.

The blood donation organizations said in a statement that they continue to research “various aspects of blood and plasma donors’ eligibility criteria.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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