A ban on gay men donating blood, introduced in the 1980s in France to prevent the spread of AIDS will soon be lifted, said the health minister.
"Giving blood is an act of generosity, of civic responsibility, and the donor's sexual orientation cannot be a condition," said Marisol Touraine.
‘The ban on gay men donating blood was imposed because they are more likely than other groups to have HIV.
"While respecting patient safety, today we are lifting a taboo," she said.
Touraine said the lifting of the ban, promised in the presidential campaign, will happen piecemeal, starting next year.
At first, donation will be open to gay men who had not been sexually active for the preceding 12 months, she specified.
In other countries with similar exclusionary provisions for potential donors and rights groups criticize the measures as discriminatory.