Sweden will lift its ban on gay blood donors as of March 1, 2010, but will restrict donations to gay men who have not had sex with a man for a year, national health authorities said Tuesday.
"Men who have had sex with men will no longer be permanently barred from donating blood," the National Board of Health and Welfare said in a statement released on World AIDS Day.
Sexual orientation will no longer determine whether a person can give blood. Instead, people who have engaged in "sexually risky behaviour" can be barred as donors for one year.
"That group includes men who have sex with men," the agency said.
Donors have to fill in a detailed form about their health, including their sexual history, before being approved as donors. All donated blood is then tested before being used, a spokeswoman for the health board, Monica Axelsson, said.
Homosexuals are considered to be a group at higher risk of having blood contaminated with sexually-transmitted diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis.
According to Axelsson, a number of other countries in Europe have already lifted bans on gay blood donors.