Mexico has lifted its ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

According to gay blog Blabbeando, the procedural change first approved in August took effect on Christmas Day.

For two decades gay and bisexual men were explicitly banned from donating blood. Mexico cited an “increased probability of acquiring HIV or hepatitis infection” in instituting the ban.

The new rule bans people with hepatitis or living with HIV and their partners and people who engage in “risky sexual practices” from donating blood.

“Risky sexual practices” include “contact or exchange of blood, sexual secretions or other bodily secretions between someone who might have a transmittable disease and areas of another person's body through which an infectious agent might be able to penetrate.”

In 2010, a U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) committee voted to keep a ban on gay men from donating blood. The FDA, which regulates the nation's blood supply, has so far followed the panel's advice.

The agency currently imposes a lifetime ban on men who have had a sexual relationship with another man since 1977 from donating blood. But the agency only excludes people who have engaged in heterosexual sexual activity with a person known to have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, for one year.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, President Obama's Secretary of State nominee, recently opened a new push to end America's ban.