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Health workers upset over gay blood ban

A court ruling that upholds the ban on gay men donating blood reinforces the stigma that gay men have AIDS, according to the executive director of a Davie Street men’s health centre.

A court ruling that upholds the ban on gay men donating blood reinforces the stigma that gay men have AIDS, according to the executive director of a Davie Street men’s health centre.

Wayne Robert, of Health Initiative for Men, said Thursday’s ruling in Ontario seems to focus more on sexual orientation than science, since not all gay men have AIDS.

“What I fear is that we’re getting a false sense of security by saying ‘let’s not let any gay men donate blood,’” he said.

Dr. Graham Sher, Canadian Blood Services executive officer, said the priority is to protect the safety of blood recipients.

“Our policies are developed based on sound scientific facts about risk and are intended to reduce or pre-empt the introduction of those risks to recipients of blood products.”

Monique Doolittle-Romas, director of the Canadian AIDS Society, said she was disappointed with the decision.

“It was very disturbing that the court saw this as a contest between safety and gay rights,” said Doolittle-Romas. “In fact, we know through our work with HIV/AIDS that the only strategies that work are the ones that respect human rights.”

 
 
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