If you are gay, then the US’s powerful Food & Drug Administration still does not want your blood.

That is unless you can prove you have been celibate for a whole year. After years of pressure to reform the ban, the FDA announced plans in December 2014 to ease the rules slightly and officials issued a formal recommendation on Tuesday which effectively still stops gay men from donating blood.

The FDA has banned blood donations from men who have had sex with another man anytime since 1977, a rule approved more than three decades ago during the AIDS epidemic. However, as blood screening and HIV testing have made advances, the policy has been criticised as unscientific and discriminatory by some medical organisations, Congressional Democrats, and advocacy groups.

“The FDA may have had good intentions behind this policy, but asking gay and bisexual men to be celibate for a year before donating blood is in practice still a lifetime ban,” said a statement issued by Kelsey Louie, the CEO of LGBT health advocacy group Gay Men’s Health Crisis. “By contrast, the new policy does not require heterosexuals to be celibate for one year in order to donate blood, even if their sexual behaviour places them at high risk for HIV.”

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However the out gay US ambassador to Spain may be banned from donating blood at home in the United States but he appeared eager to post a photo of himself donating blood in Spain, where the rules are different. Smiling and giving a thumbs up, James Costos appears in a photo on his Instagram account wearing a tourniquet and giving blood along with a glowing message to his followers. “I joined Team U.S. Embassy Madrid donating blood. Please join us, it feels good to give, trust me!” he wrote. The Instagram account belongs to Costos and his partner, Michael S. Smith, an interior designer who have been together for 15 years.

In Spain, however, being gay does not disqualify potential blood donors. The donors are screened based on the individual’s risk factors, such as how recently they became intimate with a new partner and other behaviors that could raise chances of exposure to HIV.