Health officials in Britain announced on Sunday that gay men will soon be allowed to donate blood for the first time.

There's a caveat, however. Only gay men who have not been sexuality active with another man for 10 years will be allowed to donate blood. That is, the ban will remain in effect for sexually active gay men.

According to UK's The Telegraph, MP Anne Milton, England's public health minister, said the policy was being revised because an outright ban could breach equality laws.

“A complete ban is unfair and discriminatory but we need to protect public health, so the 10-year rule is what is being considered,” a source told the paper.

Gay men are considered a high-risk group for contracting HIV. Other groups include sex workers and intravenous drug users.

Last year, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) considered lifting its ban, but decided against such a change.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, led the fight to reverse the ban.

“This lingering policy is responsible for turning away thousands of healthy donors from blood clinics across the country, not because they have engaged in highly risky behavior, but because they are gay,” Kerry said in testimony before a Health & Human Services committee.

“This is blood that could save lives,” he added.

Supporters of the change noted that the FDA 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 but gay men are banned for life.