Health Canada’s lifetime ban on homosexual men donating blood has been lifted, though some restrictions still apply.
A gay man can donate blood if he has not been in any type of sexual relationship for at least five years.
Since 1977, men who have been in any type of sexual engagement with another man were banned from giving blood for their entire lives.
Vice President of medical, scientific and research affairs at Canadian Blood Services, Dr. Dana Devine said, “We recognize that many people will feel that this change does not go far enough, but given the history of the blood system in Canada, we see this as a first and prudent step forward on this policy.”
In other countries, such as Australia and Great Britain, the length of time a gay man cannot give blood is up to one year after intercourse.
In South Africa the duration of time is only six months. In nine other countries including Italy, Mexico and Chile, there is no policy banning or restrictions on gay men wishing to donate blood.
Dr. Devine still believes that the five-year policy is necessary.
“It is the right thing to do and we are committed to regular review of this policy as additional data emerge and new technologies are implemented,” she said.
The new policy will take affect on July 22.