Canada’s health care system faces a chronic shortage of donated blood and blood products. Looking back to the beginning of 2018, Canada’s national blood inventory has been constantly below optimal levels. The scale of the problem is clear: while roughly 52% of all Canadian so they or a family member have required donated blood at some point, only 4% of Canadians are active blood donors.
Despite this shortage, men and some trans women are still banned from donating if they have had sex with a man in the past year.
The current policy is based on stigma, not science. CBS and Héma-Quebec screen potential donors based on their identity rather than their sexual behaviours and practices. This contributes to discrimination that gay and trans people face.
All donors should be asked the same questions, and those questions should be based on specific high-risk sexual behaviours, not identity.
We, the undersigned, call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the federal government, Health Canada, Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, and the provincial and territorial ministries of health, to end the ban on men and transgender women who have sex with men from donating blood, so they too can to participate in the life-giving act of donating blood.