Repeal of gay blood-donor ban sought

Jan. 27, 2011 at 10:38 AM
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OTTAWA, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The Canadian Blood Service agency wants the federal health agency to ease restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood, a spokeswoman said.

Lorna Tessier, director of public relations at CBS, told the Toronto Star in Ottawa the agency is funding a $500,000 grant administered by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research into the issue.

Under Health Canada regulations, CBS cannot collect blood donations from men who have had sex with another man at least once since 1977. The restriction has automatically been renewed annually since it was imposed.

"A lifetime ban extending by one year every year is just not sustainable," Tessier said. "There have been lots of changes in the environment, lots of changes in testing (and) lots of changes on the international front."

However, last September, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice upheld the federal ban, ruling giving blood is not a constitutional right and citing epidemiological evidence that claims HIV and AIDS are more prevalent in homosexual men than the overall population, the Star said.

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