Sweden will end its current lifetime ban on male donors who have sex with men from giving blood from March 2010, although these donors must not have had sex for at least a year.

In statement issued on World Aids Day, the country’s National Board of Health and Welfare said: “Men who have had sex with men will no longer be permanently barred from donating blood.”

The organisation said that the criteria for being able to donate blood will no longer be based on a person’s sexual orientation, but rather on their “risky behaviour.”

Activists in Britain have been calling for that country to end its lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.

In 2006, South Africa’s National Blood Services (SANBS) also lifted it outright ban to allow gay men who are celibate for six months to donate blood.

The policy, which continues today, has been rejected by local activists who say that it is based on international data which is not applicable in South Africa.

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