For the first time since 1998, lesbians can legally give blood in China. The ban, prompted by HIV and AIDS fears 14 years ago, also has been lifted on celibate gay men, though sexually active gay men are still barred from donating. A major Chinese lesbian activist applauded the move, saying it was "about our dignity," CNN reports. "AIDS is not caused by one's homosexual identity but improper sexual behavior."
After AIDS appeared in China in the 1980s, officials denied its presence in the country. But the UN has since lauded the country's progress on the illness, citing "major investments in China's AIDS response and a dramatic scale-up of HIV prevention, treatment, and care programs." Other new blood donation rules, enacted July 1, include a reduction in the necessary amount of time between donations and an increase in the upper age limit to 60.