Gay men can donate blood for research at Rainbow Clinic

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      While sexually active Canadian queer men still can't donate blood for transfusions, they can donate blood for research.

      Canadian Blood Services is setting up a Rainbow Donor Clinic and open house at the University of British Columbia on Wednesday (February 4) from noon until 7 p.m. at Canadian Blood Service Network Centre for Applied Development (netCAD) clinic (2150 Western Parkway, UBC) to accept blood donations from men who have sex with men.

      The donated blood will be used for research ranging from cancer to testing trials for new techniques.

      Canadian Blood Services had barred blood donations from men who had sex with men since 1977 due to historical prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C within queer communities. In 2013, the restrictions were modified to accept blood donations from men who have not had sex with men within the past five years.

      Activists have protested the policy for being discriminatory. 

      On December 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it would be removing the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, and reducing it to men who have abstained from same-sex sexual activity for one year. Canadian Blood Services was reviewing the policy change before making any further changes to their own policy.