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

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

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

Canadian Blood Services: The donation process
Canadian Blood Services: The donation process

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

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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.”