Northern Ireland gay blood ban “lifted”

Northern Ireland’s lifetime ban on gay men donating blood is to be lifted on Thursday. Men whose last sexual contact with another man was more than 12 months ago will be free to donate blood so long as they meet the other donor criteria.

The change means Northern Ireland has come into line at last with England, Scotland and Wales.

Previously in Northern Ireland, any man who had sex with another man was banned from giving blood permanently.

It has taken them five years to catch up with the rest of the UK, where the rules were changed in 2011.