Blood collection in Canada discriminates against gay men

The last time I went to give blood, I picked up a brochure from Canadian Blood Services. To my horror! I saw that our dear nonprofit that does so much good, does not want blood from gay men (or an other men who’ve had sex with men.) This is a completely irrelevant hangover from the fear of HIV from 30 years ago.

The video is from USA, but in Canada, and cannot donate blood if they have had sex with other men in the last five years. We now screen ALL blood for HIV yet, the discriminatory policy to gay men remains. Men and women can contract HIV from both heterosexual and homosexual sex. This five year weight period completely ridiculous to apply solely to men who have had sex with men.

I called and complained about the policy year or so ago, but this video reminded me that we need to be persistent to affect change.

If you think this is crazy! As I do, then please call 1 877 709 7773 or email and tell them that their policy is discriminatory, offensive, and just plain stupid.

A thousand meetings: Slow and steady progress for our programs

Our last few days have been full of meeting and meetings. Tawnya, Nicole (when she was here) and I (Arnica) have met many times with Bisrat from Canadian Humanitarian, and our consultant, Birhan, to develop plans for our programs and new partnership. We have also met with Meseret and Sintayehu from Faya Orphanage three times, including one joint meeting with Faya Orphanage and Canadian Humanitarian.

Pediatric AIDS in Lesotho

I was browsing for videos on Lesotho and came across this awesome one from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. For those of you that don’t know, Lesotho has the third highest HIV rate in the world: one in every three people is living with HIV. According to the foundation, “out of a population of 1.89 million, approximately 320,000 people are living with HIV, including approximately 41,000 children; 24,000 of these children are in need of treatment.”

Well, I was very impressed to hear about the Elizabeth Glaser foundation’s project to help stall mother-to-child transmission. You see, there is no way that children need to contract HIV from their mothers… simple medicines and care prevent mother-to-child transmission.

According to their website, the Foundation has, as of June 30, 2012:

  • Provided more than 108,000 women with PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) services.
  • Enrolled more than 200,000 people into HIV care and support programs, including more than 9,400 children under the age of 15.
  • Started more than 96,000 people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV, including more than 4,600 children under the age of 15.

Pretty awesome. If you’d like to learn more, here is there website: