The Food and Drug Administration announced proposed changes to its blood donation guidelines for gay and bisexual men Friday, offering a shift from restrictions many deem as discriminatory.

The restrictions on donating blood date back to the early days of the AIDS epidemic and were designed to protect the blood supply from HIV. Initially, gay and bisexual men were prohibited entirely from donating blood. Over time, the FDA relaxed the ban but kept some limits in place.

The most current rules, which were updated in 2020, state that "a man who has protected sex with another man in the three months prior to a blood donation cannot be a donor, but a man or woman who has unprotected sex with multiple partners of the opposite sex over the same time period remains eligible," according to the American Medical Association.

The FDA's proposed guidance removes that time-based deferral for some men who have sex with men: "Instead, we recommend assessing donor eligibility using gender-inclusive, individual risk-based questions relevant to HIV risk."

The move is aimed at tackling criticism that the current policy is discriminatory and outdated, as well as removing a barrier that can bolster the nation's blood supply since blood banks routinely screen donated blood for HIV anyway.

The current donor history questionnaire would also be revised to ask all prospective donors about their sexual history in the past three months, meaning gay and bisexual men would not be singled out. Notably, lesbian and bisexual women do not have a deferral period.

Men who have sex with men that are not in monogamous relationships would still be subject to the three-month deferral, according to the proposed guidance.

For many years, the American Medical Association, the American Red Cross and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups have been pushing for a change to the federal rules on blood donations.

"Maintaining a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood products in the U.S. is paramount for the FDA, and this proposal for an individual risk assessment, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, will enable us to continue using the best science to do so," FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a statement.

America's supply of blood is constantly in a state of flux, with less than 10% of community blood centers having more than a three-day supply, according to America's Blood Centers, the nation's largest blood collection organization.

The FDA is expected to make the guidance official after public comment.