May 23, 2013
Health Canada is lifting the lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men. Starting July 22, 2013, men who have abstained from sexual intercourse with other men for at least five years will be able to donate blood. Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec explained that the five-year restriction is necessary because homosexual men's HIV transmission frequency is higher than in the general population, and their HIV infection rate is 10 times higher than that of heterosexuals or lesbians. In the past, because of Hema-Quebec and Canadian Blood Services restrictions, men who had only one homosexual encounter since 1977 faced a lifetime ban on donating blood. Lobby groups have attempted to overturn that ban since it was established, and Health Canada has finally agreed to lift the ban, with tight restrictions.