Canadian Health Department Bars Organ Donations from Gay Men

A prominent AIDS doctor has criticized a Canadian health regulation that prohibits gay men from donating organs, saying the ban is scientifically unsound and could hinder critical transplant shortages, The Toronto Star reported Wednesday. Health Canada, the Canadian government’s public health department, began enforcing the ban in December. The regulation, which resembles blood-donor restrictions, bars organ donations from sexually active gay men, hepatitis victims, and intravenous drug users.

BY admin

January 10 2008 1:00 AM ET

A prominent AIDS
doctor has criticized a Canadian health regulation that
prohibits gay men from donating organs, saying the ban is
scientifically unsound and could hinder critical
transplant shortages, The Toronto Star reported
Wednesday.

Health Canada,
the Canadian government’s public health department,
began enforcing the ban in December. The regulation,
which resembles blood-donor restrictions, bars organ
donations from sexually active gay men, hepatitis
victims, and intravenous drug users.

Philip Berger,
head of family and community medicine at St.
Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said the rules
were unfair to thousands of conscientious gays.
“To exclude bona fide donors because they’ve
had sex with another man would exclude a lot of people
who are no risk at all,” he told The Toronto
Star
. “Zero risk.”

But Dr. Gary
Levy, head of the country’s largest organ transplant
program, says the ban only formalizes preexisting
precautions. Still, Levy systematically turning away
gays makes little sense. "I personally believe someone
who has been in a monogamous relationship for 30
years, regardless of the gender of their partner, is a safe
situation," Levy told The Star.

Ultimately,
though, Levy said transplant surgeons will continue to make
the final decision organs are safe to use. His program, he
said, has used many organs from known gay men after
doctors determined that the donor’s sexual
behavior did not pose a significant HIV risk. (The
Advocate
)

Tags: Health

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