Canada finds alternate route for gay, bisexual blood donations

By John Mack Freeman

A clinic in Canada has found an alternate way to accept blood donations from men who have sex with men. Currently, Canada has an MSM ban that lasts for five years from the last sexual encounter. Because this is clearly insane, the Canadian Blood Service is hosting a one-day event at the University of British Colombia that will collect blood for MSMs for use in research purposes. The blood will be available to researchers and students at all levels provided their research passes an ethics board.

While this is obviously not the goal of ending all blood bans based on fear instead of science, it is a gesture towards the necessity of having all available people be present in the blood supply. Via PinkNews:

Dr Tanya Petraszko of Canadian Blood Services told CBC: “This came from the community from Chad Walters, who is a gentleman who was deferred from donating blood for transfusion and he was made aware of our clinic, the netCAD clinic, where all deferred donors can donate blood for research

“He took it upon himself to hold a rainbow clinic to raise awareness in the men who have sex with men community… I think Chad’s point was that not a lot of people recognize this.

“This could be used for cancer therapy, for cancer research, looking at the kinds of proteins we have on red blood cells, how the immune system works — all sorts of clinical and applied research.

“This is what Canadian Blood Services thinks is a first step. It’s certainly still very restrictive.”

She adds of potentially relaxing the MSM blood ban further: “What Health Canada wants us to do is demonstrate that in the first two years we have not seen an increased risk of viruses in the blood supply, so Canadian Blood Services is working on that.”

Editor’s Note: On a side note, I would like to thank those at Midwinter who attended the panel on blood donations that the RT put on. It was a wonderful conversation, and I’d like to once again thank our panelists for their time and input. The audio will be posted soon, and we will send it out to the membership at that time.


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