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The US government’s health officials have announced that they will lift the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

The 32-year-old ban was created to prevent the transmission of the AIDS-causing virus, HIV. Gay activists have long said the ban no longer stood up to modern testing methods.

The agency said that the ban on donating blood would remain for those men who have had sex with another man in the previous year, which is also the current policy in Britain and Australia.

The change is “backed by sound science and continues to protect our blood supply”, said The US Food and Drug Administration.

“Ultimately, the 12-month deferral window is supported by the best available scientific evidence, at this point in time, relevant to the US population,” Dr Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s biologics division, said in a statement.

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