Allow gay men to donate blood without an abstinence period
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In the spring of 2017, Canadian Blood Services put out a plea for donors as the nation-wide blood shortage reached a critical level. While this crisis was stalled with the help of many Canadian citizens, it is part of an ongoing chronic problem with the relationship between Canadian citizens and the actual blood-donation process, and the lingering effects of many old prejudices against marginalized groups who were deemed to be "at higher risk" for contracting bloodborne illnesses such as HIV. In August of 2016, the deferral period for men who have sex with other men was lowered to a one year abstinence period, and since then Canadian Blood Services has filed for that abstinence period to be eradicated completely. This is, among other things, a petition to attract attention from the public eye and the appropriate branches of Health Canada to the matter and to lobby for the passing of the eradication of this abstinence period.
In approval of the reduction of the abstinence period in the August of 2016, Health Canada wrote that the window period for HIV testing (among other bloodborne diseases) was "less than 10 days." Health Canada also noted that there haven't been any transmissions of HIV via blood transfusion for over 25 years in Canada. Yet, a required abstinence period aimed only exclusively men who engage in homosexual sex remains in effect.
Given that blood samples are tested for bloodborne diseases prior to their actual use as a transfusion, and that the science of detection for these diseases has become so efficient, it only seems reasonable that the abstinence period for men who have sex with men be lowered to nearly nill, or eradicated altogether. When these barriers preventing marginalized groups from donating are destroyed, the archaic and prejudicial attitudes surrounding much of the LGBTQ+ community donating blood will ideally begin to crumble, and the overall relationship between Canadian citizens and blood donation will improve. Canada cannot solve its chronic blood shortages without the support and donation of its LGBTQ+ members. Help them to help us.
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