On Monday June 20th, 2016 Canada ruled that men who have sex with other men are banned from donating blood for at least one year. While Justin Trudeau campaigned on eliminating the blood ban he opted instead for Canada to join the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, and France by maintaining a one-year ban. Previously, Canada's blood ban was one of the highest in the world at five years.
The blood ban means that only gay and bisexual men who abstain from sex for one year will be permitted to donate blood. The ban extends beyond just gay men to women they've had sexual contact with.
This is a problem and David Collict believes that to solve it, we need to stop treating an entire group of people like second class citizens. When we tell gay men that they can't donate blood because gay sex is considered "risky behavior" we're telling an entire group of people that their sex life is inherently risky.
This isn't okay. Canada may have softened it's outdated and perhaps homophobic policy, but when it's clear we have the ability to screen blood and we can't even lift the policy in times of need it's clear we need a change.
The blood ban still rests on the outdated stigma linking HIV to gay sex. It's time we stopped treating gay men like second class citizens and started providing them equal rights, "risky behavior" or not.