[Éditorial de Louise-Maude Rioux Soucy] Finally, an inclusive blood donation!

Morality and public health do not mix. This is why we should be happy to see that science will finally prevail over prejudice in the delicate issue of blood donation, which, since the tainted blood scandal of the 1990s, has evolved remarkably, here as elsewhere.

Since Sunday, Héma-Québec has applied an inclusive approach that allows it to apply the same eligibility criteria to all potential donors. No more automatic exceptions for men who have had sex with men, legacy of a traumatic page in Canadian history, after 1,100 people were infected with HIV and 20,000 others with hepatitis C during blood transfusions, between 1985 and 1993.

Excluded for life in 1992 under a precautionary principle that no longer fits the current health portrait, homosexual men had regained the right to donate blood in 2013, but only after abstinence for five years, a period reduced to one year. in 2016, then three months in 2019. The science, however, is formal: there is no justification for still attaching the word “danger” to an entire group solely because of their sexual practices.

Quebec is not the first to take note of this development, which advocates a non-gendered approach refocused on the individual behavior of everyone. He was even a little behind in the Canadian federation, where Justin Trudeau carried this workhorse without firing a shot. Getting rid of our prejudices will have taken time. Too much time for us not to say today: finally!

Of course, the risk assessment remains. Donating blood (platelets and plasma) is not a right, but a humanitarian privilege. We always need concrete qualification rules to guarantee the safety of the receivers. However, this relaxation, approved earlier by Health Canada, will have no impact on it, assure the authorities. Evidenced by the first scientific echoes published in the United Kingdom, where a similar approach has been applied since 2021.

This change is no less major for the LGBTQ + community, which certainly does not deserve to still bear this stigma. It has just pulled the rug out from under the feet of those that this practice reinforced in their prejudices. As LGBTQ+ rights are challenged around the world, led by Russia and the United States, this is a great victory — sensitive, sensible and informed — against fear and ignorance.

To see in video

source site-47