Health Canada has approved the Canadian Blood Service’s proposal to eliminate the three-month deferral period for gay and bisexual men donating blood.

The blood donation organization will now screen all donors based on higher risk sexual behaviours, not gender or sexuality.

Donors will have to reveal whether they have engaged in anal sex with new or multiple sexual partners in the last few months. If they have, they wait three months without this activity before being eligible to donate.

“The 2SLGBTQIPA+ community has felt the affects of the stigma and discrimination stemming from the HIV/AIDS crisis for far longer than necessary. Taking this final step to remove the ban is a long time coming as this change has come four decades after the crisis was declared,” said Chelsea Thacker, executive director for the Northern Mosaic Network.

While the blood ban was officially lifted on Thursday, April 28, Thacker said there has been opposition to it for years.

“While we have seen the conditions of the ban lessen over the years, there has been significant health research on HIV/AIDS that proved the ban was not necessary,” said Thacker. “Today, we celebrate this historical win. Tomorrow, the work continues.”

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