By David Klassen
An upcoming blood donor clinic in Winnipeg will raise awareness about the men who have had sex with men policy (MSM).
The Ally Blood Donor Clinic is a partnership between Pride Winnipeg and Canadian Blood Services. The clinic encourages eligible individuals (the ally) to donate blood on behalf of MSM individuals.
“While the MSM policy is seen as controversial amongst the LGBTTQ* community, Pride Winnipeg will continue to work with CBS on finding a way in which MSM individuals whom are not practicing high risk activities can donate blood in Canada,” said Jonathan Niemczak, president of Pride Winnipeg.
The policy, mandated by Health Canada, limits men who have had sex with another man in the last five years from donating blood. The original MSM policy was a lifetime ban but that was changed in July 2013, when both Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec reduced the ban to a five-year deferral after an extensive review of scientific and epidemiological evidence, along with consultation with high-interest groups such as Pride Winnipeg.
The donor clinic runs Monday, August 24 at Canadian Blood Services, 777 William Avenue. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred by visiting Blood.ca or calling 1-888-2DONATE (1-888-236-6283).