France is to lift its lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.
Enacted during the 1980s as a reaction the 1980s AIDS crisis, under current rules any man who has had sex with a man ever was banned from giving blood due to ‘safety fears’.
Starting next year, any gay man who has not been sexually active for 12 months will be able to donate. This brings the country along the same lines as the UK (barring Northern Ireland), Sweden and the Netherlands.
‘Giving blood is an act of generosity, of civic responsibility, and the donor’s sexual orientation cannot be a condition,’ minister Marisol Touraine announced in Paris.
‘While respecting patient safety, today we are lifting a taboo.’
SOS Homophobie, the LGBTI rights group, welcomed the decision but said it was still continued discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Yohann Roszéwitch, the group’s president, said: ‘The new developments does not put an end to the stigmatization of gay and bisexual men and therefore homophobia and biphobia remains.’