Gay and bisexual men will be allowed to donate blood in Ireland quicker than before, under new changes announced on Monday.
The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) says the deferral window for men who have sex with men is being reduced from 12 months to four.
This means that a man, whose last sexual contact with another man was more than four months ago, will be eligible to donate.
The deferral for people who take pre or post-exposure prophylaxis - taken to reduce the risk of contracting HIV - is also reduced to four months.
Dr Tor Hervig, IBTS medical and scientific director, told Newstalk Breakfast all people will face the same procedures.
"Today the deferral period for men who have sex with men will be changed from 12 months to four months.
"In phase two, we will implement an individual risk assessment that will allow many more donors to come into our system".
He says the changes are based on better testing.
"Around 40 years ago, we knew MSM [men who have sex with men] people were high risk for contracting HIV.
"And also that HIV was transferred through transfusion - so due to patient safety, there had to be strong regulations.
"Now the picture has changed, and I think in Ireland we have the best testing system in the world.
"So now it's time for change - a similar change has been performed in the UK, and we will follow their pathway".
Asked why there is still a need for a deferral period, Dr Horvig says: "To be completely certain, we need an individual risk assessment and to know this risk assessment has been based on population.
"So that if you are a man having sex with another man, you are excluded or deferred for at least four months from this day on.
"But when we have the individual risk assessment available, all donors - heterosexual, gay men and lesbian also - will have the same questions and go through the same procedure."