Category: Opinions

Sex, scandal and scapegoats: Canada’s blood donation policy for sex workers

On May 27, 2022, Canadian Blood Services—the non-profit that manages Canada’s blood supply outside of Quebec—announced that the lifetime ban on blood donation for those who have traded sex for money would be reduced to one year pending approval from Health Canada. Their questionnaire has recently been updated to reflect this decision. They claim current evidence and available testing technology do not support the lifetime ban policy. This policy review came on the heels of outrage and criticism on Twitter in late 2021 by sex workers who had faced discrimination when trying to donate blood. Addressing discrimination on the basis...

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AIDS 2022 in Montreal: Will Canada’s HIV response hold up against scrutiny?

In a few weeks, the world is invited to Montreal for AIDS 2022, the 24th International AIDS Conference.  At this time of writing, no public announcement has been made as to which of Canada’s dignitaries will be present. The last time this conference was held in Canada was 2006, in Toronto. The absence of our then prime minister, as well as the previous federal government’s abysmal record on HIV policy issues such as harm reduction, became an embarrassment for Canada on an international stage.

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Chemsex, PnP, crystal meth: What does harm reduction really look like?

For a few years now, our team at Clinique médicale l’Actuel has noticed an increase in patients using crystal meth. At the start of the pandemic, to address our patients’ distress and increased substance use, we secured private funding to set up a support program for our patients who use crystal meth and practise chemsex, also called PnP or party ‘n play. We also convinced the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services to carry out a pilot project with this population at the clinic.

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