Why Canadian Blood Services aren’t homophobic for banning gay blood


It always struck me as strange that people would accuse Canadian Blood Services of banning gay blood purely for ideological reasons. That, a generation after the AIDs crisis, the scientists in charge of the country’s blood system would keep sexually active gay men out of their clinics “just because.”

So I called up Canadian Blood Services’ chief scientist, combed the literature and reviewed the stats. You can read the full story at the National Post, but I came upon plenty of unexpected tidbits like this.

It’s not that Canadian Blood Services couldn’t come up with a policy that includes sexually active gay men, said Dr. Dana Devine, the chief medical officer for Canadian Blood Services,  “it’s that you can’t come up with one you can afford.”

Canada is not alone in that belief. Across Europe, many of the world’s most gay-friendly countries — including Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium — retain lifetime blood donation bans on “men who have sex with men.” Even Iceland, home to history’s first openly gay head of state, maintains a lifetime blood ban.