The UK Government reduced a one year ban for men who have sex with men to just three months.
Announced today (23 July), the new guidelines were recommended by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO).
It is ‘based on the most up to date scientific evidence and medical advances, which will offer more people the opportunity to donate blood without affecting the safety of the blood supply.’
The announcement comes about after improved tests when detecting HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or syphilis.
The changes will come into affect in early 2018.
Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening said: This government is committed to building an inclusive society that works for everyone, no matter what their gender or sexuality and today we’re taking the next step forward.
‘We will build on the significant progress we have made over the past 50 years, tackling some of the historic prejudices that still persist in our laws and giving LGBT people a real say on the issues affecting them,’ she said.
In 2011, the UK Government lifted a lifetime ban for men who have sex with men and reduced it to one year.
In 2016, Northern Ireland fell in line with the rest of the UK and lifted their lifetime ban.
Ethan Spibey, founder of FreedomToDonate, told Gay Star News: ‘Today’s announcement marks a significant moment both for me personally and the campaign.’
He started FreedomToDonate to repay the blood donor who saved his grandad’s life and he’s ‘never felt closer to doing that.
‘Today’s announcement from the government marks a world-leading blood donation policy, and we also welcome the news to a long term move towards a truly individualised risk-based policy,’ he said.