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A gay man in Ontario will be in court later this month arguing that Health Canada discriminates against him by overseeing the ban preventing men who recently have had sex with other men from donating blood. The federal government has been trying to block that challenge, arguing it has no power to change Canadian Blood Services’ donor criteria. A federal court judge will hear the case on May 27. The case dates back to 2016, when Christopher Karas first brought a human rights complaint against Health Canada. He accused the department of discriminating against him on the basis of his sexual orientation through its role in upholding Canadian Blood Services’ policy of prohibiting men who have sex with men from donating blood in Canada unless they’ve been celibate for a period of time. When Karas first applied to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, that period of time was one year; it has since been dropped to three months. For years, the not-for-profit Canadian Blood Services has argued the deferment period is necessary because HIV is more prevalent among men who have sex with men — sometimes referred to as the MSM population.

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