850 Kamloops residents have sent emails this summer to the Federal Health Minister calling for an end to the blood donation ban for men who have sex with men (MSM).
“We talked to people from across the community at farmers markets, Overlanders Day, on campus, and at the Pride Parade,” said Kole Lawrence, Vice President External of TRUSU. “People in Kamloops from all different backgrounds were shocked to learn that this policy is still in place.”
Currently, Canada has a three month deferral policy for MSM. This means that, regardless of their relationship status or safe-sex practices, many gay and bi-sexual men will not be permitted to donate blood for most of their adult lives.
“The level of community support we’ve received on this issue has been amazing,” said Lawrence. “Kamloopsians clearly support modernizing Canadian blood donation policy to be safe and equitable.”
In 2015 the Liberal Party of Canada promised to end the blood donation ban for men who have sex with men and move to a behaviour-based model but that promise has not yet been fulfilled. Many other countries have now switched to a behaviour based blood donation system that assesses individuals based on their risk profile rather than banning entire groups from donating.
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