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.
“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
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.
“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.”