Switzerland has lifted the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.
Medical watchdog Swissmedic has approved the request lodged by blood donor service Swiss Transfusion SRC.
Under the rules, gay and bisexual men will be allowed to donate as long as they have been celibate for the past year.
The previous guidelines stated any man who had sex with a man since 1977 had been barred from donating blood – an antiquated rule brought in during the 1980s.
Swiss Transfusion SRC welcomed the move, but said it was ‘far from perfect’.
Chief Rudolph Schwabe said the policy shift marked a ‘first change to discriminatory regulation’ even if the new rules are ‘far from perfect’.
He echoed calls for blood donation guidelines to be focused on sexual behavior, rather than being gay or straight.
In a statement, Swissmedic said men who have sex with men are still ‘disproportionately at risk’ of contracting HIV, but these new guidelines ‘will not lead to an increased risk for recipients of blood transfusions’.
The new rules will come into effect on 1 July.