Wales will be joining other countries in the U.K by reducing the deferral period for gay and bisexual men from 12 months to 3 months for blood donations. Men who have sex with men will now only have to refrain from sexual encounters for 3 months, instead of the previous 12. The new laws and requirements will go into effect in 2018.
After recommendations from a U.K advisory board, about the safety of blood, tissue, and transmission, Rebecca Evans, the Welsh public health minister, made the change. Evans commented that the change will allow the blood supply to stay safe, but also encourage more donors.
Men who had sex with men were banned from giving blood at all during the AIDS epidemic. The rules were relaxed in 2011, to a deferral period of 12 months for gay and bisexual men. Advances in medicine are allowing nations to lower the requirement. The new deferral period will also apply to commercial sex workes, and other considered "high risk."
The U.S. has been behind the times in relaxing it's rules on allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood. The FDA introduced a lifteime ban in 1985, and only relaxed the rules in 2015 instituting the 12 month deferral period, well behind other countries.
H/T: The Guardian