Ginette Petitpas, Canada’s Health Minister, has announced that the country will reduce the amount of time gay and bisexual men must abstain from sex in order to donate blood.
Previously the wait time was one year, it has now dropped to three months. The change will come into effect on June 3.
A lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood has introduced in 1992 following the AIDS crisis. It was reduced to five years in 2013 and one year in 2016.
“Today, we’re taking a major step towards a fair, evidence-based blood-donation system by reducing the deferral period to three months and moving towards behavioural-based screening,” Petitpas said.
“We empathise with individuals who, for many different reasons, cannot give blood,” added Dr Graham Sher, chief executive of Canadian Blood Services. “This further reduction to the waiting period represents the next available step forward in updating our blood donation criteria.
“The work to evolve the blood donation eligibility criteria doesn’t end here. The research required to generate further evidence-based changes is ongoing.”