Questions and answers – man who had sex with a man
No. If the last sexual contact with a man was less than 5 years ago.
The safety of the blood supply remains paramount. The Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada, which was formed in the wake of the contaminated blood scandal, recommended that the principle of safety take precedence over all other principles and policies. The fact is that, inherent in the blood supply system, is the possible emergence – at any time – of new pathogens (i.e. viruses, bacteria) that are transmitted through transfusion. Some groups – especially those that represent transfusion recipients –were concerned with the possibility that men who have had sex with another man were at higher risk for these emerging infections. Given this possibility, the five-year exclusion period helped to reassure these groups of our ability to implement measures to protect the blood supply from such a risk.
Man who had sex with a man are at higher risk for HIV than the general population. The frequency of HIV infection still remains much higher among homosexual men. HIV prevalence is over 10% in this group compared to well below 1% among heterosexuals or lesbians.
Yes, every blood donation is tested and qualified. To learn more, see safety measures.
Remember that sex can contribute to the propagation of viruses that may be transmitted to other individuals through blood transfusions. Héma-Québec uses a range of very rigorous screening tests. In spite of the high performance of these tests, the risk of an infected blood donation going undetected, however slight, is not zero because of the sensitivity limitations of the tests. Hence, in spite of the use of screening tests, we exclude donors at high risk of infections that might be transmitted through blood.
There is a period of risk (called the “silent period” or “window period”) during which, even if a person feels healthy and the screening tests for HIV and Hepatitis B and C are negative, that person can be infected and can transmit these viruses to the recipient of that blood.