The Australian Red Cross has announced it will review its ban on gay men donating blood.

Currently, gay men cannot donate blood if they have had sex with another man in the last 12 months.

The organisation has been lobbied by gay and HIV groups to reconsider its policy on the last few years.

Red Cross Australia spokesperson Nick McGowan told MCV that the review would take place.

He said: “We think it’s an opportune time to review this policy”.

“There’s a pre-eminent concern … the safety of Australia’s blood supply. That’s the overarching objective of supplying Australian’s with safe blood.”

Several years ago, would-be gay donor Michael Cain brought an anti-discrimination tribunal against the blood service.

He argued it was discriminatory to bar gays from donating blood and that the policy should instead bar anyone having unsafe sex.

The ban was upheld last May but Mr Cain is working with the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group on continuing his campaign.

In March, 17 Democrat senators and one independent called to end America’s ban on gay men donating blood.

The 1983 rule is “outdated, medically and scientifically unsound”, they argued in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration

Gay men also face a lifetime blood donation ban in the UK. A review of the policy is to conclude this year.