Northern Ireland will end its lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, it has been announced.
Unlike the rest of the UK, men who have had sexual intercourse with other men are banned from donating blood in Northern Ireland. A similar ban was in place throughout the UK following the Aids crisis in the 1980s, however this was repealed in England, Scotland and Wales in 2011 following medical research which suggested the measure was unncessary. Most parts of the UK now have a 12 month period in which men are restricted from donating blood.
However, despite not allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood locally, Northern Ireland has continued to accept blood donations from other parts of the UK where they are allowed to do so. In 2013, a judge called Democratic Unionist Health Minister Edwin Poots' logic "irrational" and "defect in reason".
In February of last year, Stormont came under again pressure to justify the lifetime ban after it was claimed there was "no medical justification" for the measure.
Northern Ireland's Health Minister Michelle O'Neill said the new regulations will come into effect from 1 September
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies