Assessing unintentional creation of bias against MSM as a function of exposure to blood donor screening questionnaire and assessing sexual behaviour risk factors of those successfully passing blood donor screening

The existing Donor Questionnaire used by Canadian Blood Services to determine blood donor eligibility maybe unintentionally generating negative biases against men who have sex with men(MSM). In the current Questionnaire, questions about MSM status are sandwiched between nine other questions concerning illegal drug use, imprisonment, prostitution, and sexually transmitted infections—all very stigmatized behaviours and attributes. Reordering the Questionnaire to place questions about MSM status amongs less stigmatizing content could reduce negative attitudes that might be created in the minds of donors who complete the Questionnaire. Thus, our research focuses on optimizing the Questionnaire’s question order to minimize any negative biases it generates against MSM. Furthermore, the current Donor Questionnaire does not measure sexual risk behaviours, such as condom use or number of partners.By comparison to monogamous, condom using MSM, there may be heterosexual donors at relatively high risk of HIV transmission who are currently eligible to donate blood based on the existing Questionnaire. By polling blood donors about their sexual behaviours, we will produce an updated estimate of the HIV transmission risk behaviour in eligible donors, helping us to gauge whether a behaviourally based screening tool would more effectively screen out high M risk donors than the current Questionnaire.
Principal Investigator / Supervisor
FISHER, William
Western University
MSM Research Grant Program
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