France is to lift its ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men (MSM) “in the coming months”.
The country’s Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Marisol Touraine, announced the move on World Blood Donor Day (14 June).
“The criterion [for donation] cannot be the nature of sexual relations or sexual orientation,” she told Reuters.
“The only criterion is that of risk, and on that point we will ensure that men who have sex with men are able to give blood because that is not, in itself, a risk factor.”
Touraine said the change would be implemented within the next few months.
MSM are barred from giving blood in several countries due to the higher prevalence of HIV within the group.
In November last year, England, Scotland and Wales lifted a lifetime ban on blood donations by MSM.
MSM are now able to give blood in those countries if they have not had sex with another man in the past year.
MSM in New Zealand are currently barred from giving blood for five years following oral or anal sex with another man, whether with or without a condom.
The Human Rights Commission has received nine complaints from MSM about the matter within the past five years.