The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have announced plans to relax the US ban on gay men donating blood.
The law, which was introduced in 1983 at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis and prohibits all gay men from donating blood for life, has been widely criticised by groups including the Red Cross and The American Medical Association in recent years.
Last month (November), an advisory committee recommended to the FDA that the 31-year ban be lowered to a 12-month restriction that would mirror the UK’s current law on gay blood donation.
After failing to come to an agreement during a meeting this month (December), the FDA suggested that there were no further plans to consider lifting the ban.
However, the FDA announced on Tuesday (December 23) that the lifetime is to be scrapped, with a new law set to be implemented in 2015 that will allow men who have abstained from sex with other men for a year to donate blood.
The panel defended its refusal to scrap the ban completely, saying: “Compelling scientific evidence is not available at this time to support a change to a deferral period less than one year while still ensuring the safety of the blood supply.”
Meanwhile, a recent study found that lifting the ban on gay blood donation in the US could save over 1.8 million lives a year. Find out more here.