Canadian Blood Services expands eligibility for some gay men to donate plasma at certain clinics

Canadian Blood Companies (CBS) has expanded the eligibility for some males who’ve intercourse with males to donate plasma at its Calgary and London, Ont., donation clinics.


In these two cities, homosexual, bisexual and different males who’ve intercourse with males can donate plasma — the yellowish liquid by which blood cells are suspended — in the event that they haven’t had a brand new sexual associate within the final three months, and their present sexual associate has not had intercourse with anybody else in that point, CBS said in a release Tuesday.

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That is barely extra permissive than the present pointers for blood donation. Beneath these, males are solely in a position to donate blood if their final sexual contact with a person was greater than three months beforehand.

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The places have been chosen as a result of they will settle for plasma donations, which not all clinics do, and due to present relationships between Canadian Blood Companies and native LGBTQ2 organizations in these areas, a CBS spokesperson informed World Information.

Canadian Blood Companies describes this as “a step ahead” towards extra inclusive donations. The group has beforehand promised that they may request that Well being Canada take away the ready interval for males who’ve intercourse with males and transfer to behaviour-based screening for all donors by the tip of the yr.

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The brand new plasma donation course of for this group of donors isn’t simple. Canadian Blood Companies says it’s required by Well being Canada to impose a 60-day maintain on all plasma donations from males who’ve intercourse with males.

What this implies is {that a} new donor who passes screening will depart a plasma donation on the clinic. This pattern will likely be examined for a wide range of blood-borne ailments together with syphilis, Hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Then, a minimum of 60 days later, he might return to offer a second donation. At the moment, if the second donation additionally exams destructive, each plasma samples will likely be despatched alongside for processing and to be changed into merchandise that can be utilized by hospitals.

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Every subsequent donation by this man will then be topic to a 60-day maintain earlier than being launched to be used, Canadian Blood Companies spokesperson Catherine Lewis informed World Information.

Plasma was particularly chosen for this program as a result of it’s simpler to develop donor eligibility below the present guidelines, she stated.

“Supply plasma is used to make drugs,” she wrote in an emailed assertion. “The manufacturing course of for these drugs includes advanced steps which can be utilized to a big pool of plasma donations, and on this course of potential pathogens within the plasma are eradicated.

“This added security course of and our means to freeze and maintain plasma for as much as a yr makes it doable to develop plasma donation eligibility prior to we will for different blood merchandise.”

Nevertheless, she stated, Canadian Blood Companies doesn’t view this program as a pilot venture, because it hopes that the donation guidelines will quickly change in order that this course of turns into pointless. First, the group has to show that that is protected.

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Contentious coverage

Canada’s blood donation eligibility continues to stay a contentious problem, with critics and opposition members urgent the federal government to ship on its longstanding promise of reversing the restrictions.

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The deferral interval has been shortened 3 times over the previous eight years. Previous to 2013, there was a lifetime ban.

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Nathan Lachowsky, affiliate professor on the Faculty of Public Well being and Social Coverage on the College of Victoria, welcomed the change however stated extra work must be performed to maneuver in the direction of a “gender-neutral strategy”.

“Though the change … is constructive and promising, it nonetheless continues to perpetuate a system that treats males who’ve intercourse with males in another way than the remainder of the inhabitants,” he informed World Information.

In line with the newest knowledge from Well being Canada, homosexual, bisexual and different males who’ve intercourse with males represented 49.5 per cent of all new HIV infections in 2018, regardless of representing roughly three-to-four per cent of the Canadian grownup male inhabitants.

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Permitting males who’ve intercourse with males in Calgary and London to donate plasma provides CBS a chance to gather knowledge on these new donors that may assist affirm future modifications, Lachowsky stated.

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“What we all know from a long time of HIV analysis is what particular behaviours are most probably to cross HIV and we all know that almost all of homosexual males is not going to purchase HIV,” he added.

“So it is a step in the direction of permitting extra protected donors to take part within the blood system.

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Varied international locations have dropped or modified their screening standards for blood donation in recent times, together with Italy, Portugal and Mexico.

In June, the UK applied a behaviour-based coverage that may permit homosexual, bisexual and MSM to have the ability to donate blood, plasma and platelets with out a deferral interval.

As an alternative, the coverage within the U.Okay. sees all donors, no matter sexual orientation, requested if they’d intercourse and, in that case, about latest sexual behaviours. Individuals who have had the identical sexual associate for a minimum of three months are in a position to donate, irrespective of their orientation.

Canadian Blood Companies wouldn’t say what exactly their new screening standards will likely be, however is promising to make their submission by the tip of the yr.

“Our purpose is to take away the present ready interval particular to males who’ve intercourse with males and use sexual behaviour-based screening for all donors, in all our places and for all blood merchandise,” Lewis stated.

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— with information from World Information’ Sean Previl

© 2021 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc. | Canadian Blood Companies expands eligibility for some homosexual males to donate plasma at sure clinics


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