December 23, 2014

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday announced it would recommend allowing men who have sex with men to donate blood one year after their last sexual contact, in a move that would ease a decades-long indefinite ban and likely boost the national donor supply.

“Over the past several years, in collaboration with other government agencies, the FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence relevant to its blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in the statement. “The agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact.”

The health regulatory agency said it plans to introduce a draft guidance that recommends the proposed policy change next year. The adjustment follows the recommendation by the Department of Health and Human Services in November to end the lifetime restriction, in place since the AIDS crisis began in the 1980s, and remains consistent with the deferral periods for other men and women who are considered at increased risk for HIV infection.

Read next: Why New FDA Recommendations Against a Gay Blood Ban Are Meaningless

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