Beliefs and behaviors based on equality and fairness are the bedrock foundation of a tolerant, inclusive and caring society. In medicine, however, there can be tension between these values and the perceived safety of medical procedures. This is exemplified by possible changes in recruitment criteria and procedures for blood donors related to men who have sex with men (MSM). It is fair and equitable that this group is not prejudiced and that eligibility to donate is based on how risky sexual behavior is rather than sexual orientation in general. However, the success of this policy relies on what level of risk to the safety of blood people accept. It is especially important that people trust prospective donors to be honest in disclosing their sexual histories. At present we have minimal information on this. This project will look at trust, equality and acceptable risk in key Canadian stakeholder groups, i.e., blood donors, patients, journalists, policy makers and the general public. Our findings will inform policy makers what the acceptable level of risk is and how trusting people are of blood donors and the medical system, and should help decisions about how to inform the general public about any change in policy.
MSM Research Grant Program