"I welcome this as an incremental step, but I want it to go further," one new donor said of the change.
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) are introducing new plasma donation rules in two Canadian cities for men who were previously unable to donate at all.
According to a release published on Tuesday, October 12, some members of what the CBS calls the "gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men" (gbMSM) community who live in Calgary, Alberta, and London, Ontario, can now head to a donation centre in those cities and donate.
A new eligibility change means some sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men will be eligi… https://t.co/QBm80VBD16— Canadian Blood Services (@Canadian Blood Services) 1634059349.0
Previously, members of the gbMSM community were only allowed to donate blood or plasma if it had been more than three months since any sexual activity with a man.
However, now those in London and Calgary can donate plasma if they've seen the same parter for at least three months and that partner hasn't had sexual activity with someone else.
"We're excited to welcome more members of the gbMSM community into our London and Calgary plasma donor centres," Dr. Graham Sher, CEO of CBS, said in the release. "This is an important step toward our goal of removing the waiting period for gbMSM donors and using sexual behaviour-based screening for all donors instead."
"I'm a big proponent of blood and plasma donation," Glenndl Miguel, a paramedic who has already donated under the new change, told CBS. "I welcome this as an incremental step, but I want it to go further."
As it stands now, the three-month waiting period still exists for members of the gbMSM community if they live outside of London and Calgary or if they want to donate blood anywhere in Canada. In their release, CBS said they hope to make a recommendation to Health Canada to end that waiting period by the end of 2021.