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Professor David Brennan’s research on blood donor screening policies offers alternatives

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“Bad blood: Breaking down Canadian Blood Services’ blood donation restrictions for sexually active gay men” is an interactive feature published by the Calgary Herald that examines “the harmful history of the HIV and AIDS epidemic on the gay community, along with the thoughts and opinions of those affected by Canadian Blood Services’ donor policies.” The online package also looks at evidence-based research being conducted to enact policy change.

Professor David Brennan, is one of the featured researchers, whose work studying alternative screening policies for donors who are men who have sex with men, could lead to future policy change.

Outside of his job as a professor and associate dean of research at the University of Toronto, Breannan is the founder and director of CRUISElab, a “community-based, interdisciplinary social work lab examining the health and well-being of gay, bisexual and two-spirit men.”

In 2016, the CRUISElab team worked on a research study, #iCruise, which looked into the sexual behaviour of gbMSM in Ontario and how they interact with and experience online sexual health outreach. Soon after, Brennan reached out to CBS for funding to follow this research using past #iCruise participants to look into alternative screening policies for gbMSM.

As the principal investigator, Brennan, alongside Lachowsky, Grace, Adam Barry and Trevor Hart, conducted the research study, “Assessing alternative Canadian Blood Services blood donor deferral screening policies for men who have sex with men.”

While the study is yet to be published, Brennan says they learned a lot about possible alternative screening policies.

“We actually have 16 different possible possibilities,” says Brennan. “And we got a sense of people’s desire, willingness and eligibility based on all of those.”

> Click here to reach the full feature.