Canada has lifted its archaic ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men in a historic moment for the LGBTQ+ community.
The move was confirmed by Health Canada, the government department responsible for such policies, in a statement on 28 April.
It described the action as “a significant milestone toward a more inclusive blood donation system nationwide”.
The new screening approach is set to be implemented no later than 30 September 2022 and will mean that hopeful donors are no longer asked about their sexual orientation, but instead whether or not they engage in higher-risk sexual activity.
At a press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the current process as “discriminatory and wrong.”
His government first promised to lift the ban as part of the Liberal Party’s federal election campaign in 2015.
We promised to end the blood donation ban for men who have sex with men. Our government funded research projects necessary to make this happen. And now, this discriminatory practice will come to an end – @GovCanHealth has authorized Canadian Blood Services to lift the ban.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 29, 2022
Previous guidelines in the country meant that men who have sex with men could not donate if they had engaged in sexual contact three months prior to giving blood.
Many countries have started to ease blood donation restrictions on gay men, a lot of which were implemented at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The UK did so just last year, with countries such as Greece, France, Denmark, Brazil, Israel and Hungary also lifting their bans.
As a result of blood shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the US opted to reduce its celibacy requirement from one year to three months back in October 2020.