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Last Ban on Gay, Bi Blood Donors Falls in U.K.

Last Ban on Gay, Bi Blood Donors Falls in U.K.


Northern Ireland will end the permanent ban on male donors who've had sex with men.

Nearly five years after England, Scotland, and Wales lifted their lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, the British region of Northern Ireland has followed suit.

The new policy ditches the lifetime ban on gay and bi men in exchange for a "deferral" system, which permits blood donations from men who haven't had gay sex in a year or longer. The new policy, now in line with the rest of the United Kingdom, takes effect September 1, the BBC reports. Some British leaders want to scrap the entire deferral system for gay and bi men.

Like many Western municipalities, Northern Ireland banned blood donations from men in the early 1980s as the AIDS crisis was exploding.

The United States ended their 32-year-old ban on gay and bi men donating blood in December, but maintain a similar one-year abstinence requirement like the U.K. The Food and Drug Administration's policy on transgender donors remains backwards, with transgender women still grouped with gay men.

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