CANADA LIFTS GAY BLOOD BAN FROM TODAY
CALL FOR REVIEW OF AUSTRALIA'S BAN
LIFEBLOOD RESISTANCE TO CHANGE "UNETHICAL"
CANADIAN STUDY SHOWS LIFEBLOOD'S CONCERNS "UNFOUNDED"
From yesterday (Sep 11, 2022) Canadian gay men, as well as bisexual men, transgender women and some non-binary people who have sex with men, will be allowed to donate blood under a new policy which assesses all donors for their individual risk.
In response, the Australian Let Us Give campaign has renewed its call for the Australia Red Cross Lifeblood Service to conduct a review into implementing a similar policy here.
Let Us Give spokesperson, Thomas Buxereau, said,
"Today, Canadians will benefit from a new source of safe blood, as well as a less discriminatory blood donation system, and we want Australians to enjoy the same benefits."
"Canada and Australia are very similar countries with similar HIV profiles among men, so it makes sense for Australia to follow its example."
"It's no longer ethical for Lifeblood to dismiss calls for change, stay aloof from international developments and resist the benefits of individual risk assessment."
"We call on Lifeblood to conduct a review of the current gay blood ban with a view to implementing individual risk assessment and call on the federal government to fund that review."
From today, all Canadian donors will be asked if they have had a new sexual partner or multiple partners in the last three months and, if so, asked if this involved anal sex. If it didn't, they will be free to donate.
The Canadian reform is based in part on a nationwide study to determine if individual risk assessment (i.e. asking everyone about higher risk sexual activity) would see a significant number of heterosexual donors turned away.
The study showed less than 1% of current donors would be deferred as a result of these questions, a figure researchers say will be mostly compensated for by allowing gay men to donate under an individual risk assessment regime.
Let Us Give researcher, Dr Sharon Dane, said,
"Australia's Lifeblood Service appears to be resisting individual risk assessment because it says this will result in heterosexual donors being deferred."
"However, the Canadian study shows that such concerns appear to be unfounded or, at the very least, don't warrant the exclusion of entire groups of individuals, such as most gay men, from donating blood".
"If it isn't doing so already, Lifeblood has a duty to conduct and make public a review of the current gay blood policy and the efficacy of individual risk assessment in this country."
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Thomas Buxereau on 0415 896 884 or Dr Sharon Dane on 0403 895 268.