(LONDON) - The lifetime ban on blood donations by homosexual and bisexual men will finally be lifted in England, Scotland and Wales.
These restrictions were originally put in place in the 1980s to prevent any risk of HIV contamination, especially in response to the AIDS epidemic and lack of adequate HIV tests.
The change in policy comes as the latest medical evidence presented to a government panel argued that the ban was no longer justified.
Ministers in the three countries have accepted this argument, and agreed to let men who have not engaged in sexual intercourse with other men in the past 12 months to donate starting in November. Although the National Blood service screens all donations for HIV and other infections, there is still a “window period” after infection during with it is impossible to detect the virus.
Northern Ireland is also expected to make a decision soon.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio