Roundup: Gay Blood Donor Controversy in Canada

Beth Saunders

Canadian HIV/AIDS experts question the need for the country’s strict blood donor policies, and the governor of Mississippi is bragging.

Canadian HIV/AIDS experts are questioning the need for the country’s strict blood donor policies, which prohibit donations from any man who has had sex with a man since 1977. The Toronto Sun reports,

“Highly sensitive” testing for HIV is now routinely available, meaning the chance of infected blood getting into the system is almost nil. In addition, argues Dr. Mark Wainberg from the McGill AIDS Centre, lifetime bans on gays giving blood are simply discriminatory.

“We’re obviously not saying men who are infected should donate blood; they clearly should not,” Wainberg told QMI Agency. But he said policies that keep monogamous gay men from donating need updating, since sophisticated blood testing is now available. “The science has advanced by hundreds of miles. Yet our policies are still in a time warp.”

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The topic is a hot one now in Canada because a gay man was sued by Canadian Blood Services after it was found that he lied during the preliminary questioning and gave blood anyway. He countersued the agency, saying the questioning violated his rights. The Winnipeg Free Press quotes Douglas Elliot, a lawyer from the Canadian AIDS Society,

“The longer you ask a question that people find patently ridiculous, the more likely you are going to have people like Mr. Freeman who are going to simply ignore the question and do a self-assessment. That’s not something that we encourage by any stretch, but that is a reality.”

Elliott noted the American Red Cross looked at the issue and found that is already taking place. A study they conducted showed they had numerous gay blood donors who were ignoring the screening question “because they thought it was idiotic.”

The Ontario Superior Court is expected to rule on the lawsuit soon.

Men who have sex with men are not permitted to donate blood in the United States.

Mini-Roundup: According to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, his state is “the safest place to be an unborn child in America today,” due to the fact he signed a bill banning health care coverage for abortion in the new federal exchanges (which won’t take effect until 2014).  Sadly, the National Women’s Law Center ranks Mississippi  45th in terms of maternal mortality, so perhaps Barbour should be working a little harder to make Mississippi a safer place to give  birth.

May 25

Barbour signs anti-abortion bill – Hattiesburg American

NC abortion opponents push for ‘Choose Life’ tags – Myrtle Beach Sun News

NC Opponents Of Abortion Push For ‘Choose Life’ License Plates – WITN

’12 women a day’ having UK abortion – The Press Association

Caution over abortion rate fall – BBC News

Numbers travelling for abortion drop – Irish Times

Abortions in Scotland fall for first time in six years – BBC News

Oklahoma House Overrides Veto on Abortion Reporting Bill – Ms. Magazine

Teenager Dies After Father Attempts At-Home Abortion – FOXNews

House of Delegates passes new abortion regulations – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

Time to drop lifetime ban on gay men giving blood, HIV-AIDS experts argue – Winnipeg Free Press

Man Arrested For Trying To Spread HIV By Spitting Blood At Paramedics – Hip-Hop Wired

Trans women murdered in Puerto Rico – Dallas Voice

Police hunt possible HIV victims – Sunshine Coast Daily

Let gay men give blood, experts argue – Toronto Sun

Lubricant Use May Raise HIV Infection Risk During Anal Sex – U.S. News & World Report

Circus acrobat accused of spreading HIV appeared on Australia’s Got Talent – Brisbane Times

Pregnancy increases the risk of HIV transmission–for both men and women – Los Angeles Times (blog)

Will Maternity Coverage Cost Extra? – New York Times (blog)

Hysterectomy after childbirth carries higher risks – Los Angeles Times (blog)

Abortion-free maternal health plan falls short: Stronach – Toronto Sun

Africa must change mind set to fight HIV – McGowan – Times LIVE

May 26

Premier rejects abortion amendments – ABC Online

Academics urge G8 to fund ‘measures to reduce unsafe abortion’ – Toronto Star

Shrinking jobs market may be key to sudden drop in abortions – Herald Scotland

Override of abortion bill veto completed – Tulsa World

Sister Margaret’s mercy – The Guardian

In India, Banking on the Morning After – TIME

Bad contraception ups teen pregnancy risk 6 fold – Times of India

Anti-abortion pregnancy center sues county over disclaimer law – Business Gazette

Government and Childbirth, Compared – The Utah People’s Post

Moms can make greener choices during pregnancy – Lincoln Courier

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