China has lifted a 14-year-old ban on lesbians donating blood which has been in effect as of July 1.

While the ban does still apply to men who are sexually active with other men, celibate homosexuals are allowed to give blood, the Ministry of Health said on its website.

The ban was enacted in 1998 and forbid homosexual of both genders from donating blood out of fear of spreading HIV and AIDS.

Xu Bin, a leading gay rights activist in China, told the Global Times she commended the new amendment and explained what it meant for lesbians.

"It is also about our dignity and the elimination of blood donation discrimination," Xu said.

Xu told the paper that she had first tried to donate blood after an earthquake in Sichuan Province in 2008 and when she learned of the ban she began campaigning against it.

"It's scientific that the policy doesn't mention homosexual identity but only fences off some who have certain sex behaviors, because AIDS is not caused by one's homosexual identity but improper sexual behavior," Xu, told theĀ Global Times.

AIDS debuted in China in the 1980s when a tourist from Argentina died from the disease while on holiday in the country, and like other countries in the world, the epidemic caused massive panic and confusion which was mad worse in the country by denials from officials that the virus existed there.

However, more recently, China has adopted a more progressive approach on AIDS and the Chinese government has been commended by organizations like UNAIDS, the joint United Nations program on HIV and AIDS, in June for major investments in the countries AIDS response and HIV prevention, treatment and care programs.

The new blood donation regulations also include other changes like raising the age limit to 60, doubling the amount donated from 200ml to 400ml and reducing the required period of time between donations.