Gay men have been deferred from donating blood for over thirty years which has significantly impacted the amount of blood available for people who are in need of donations. Donors have been required by Canadian Blood Services to complete a questionnaire stating their sexual orientation, as well as their last date of sexual contact. It is through this process that sexually active gay men are deferred from donating blood.
Using a two stage testing method, CBS screens all blood donations for possible presence of infection. If the screening tests show no reaction, the blood is considered safe and is donated. However, if the blood screens react in the first stage, further testing is done to check for markers in the blood that are only found when an infection is present. Therefore, people of any gender or sexual orientation may be HIV positive without even realizing it.
There are significant barriers and limitations that the government has created in terms of educating the public on various issues and topics which are not widely accepted by the larger society. This has contributed to the creation of a dominant and oppressive ideology that singles out male sexual orientation rather than sexual behavior. Gay men are being discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and the socially constructed belief that homosexuality is directly linked to the HIV/AIDS virus. Monogamous gay couples are banned from donating blood while straight men, who may have had unprotected sex with countless partners, are allowed to donate even though they may pose a greater risk of transmitting HIV.
The reality is that heterosexual individuals run the same risk of being
contaminated and unknowingly passing on the virus to others.
It has been estimated that over half of the Canadian population will need blood at some point in their lifetime. Therefore, every human being - regardless of their sexual orientation, should be treated equally and able to donate blood to help save the lives of those who need it.
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