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blood donations

Jan 29, 1998


Hello sir. Despite a risk of hiv, although a pretty small risk, my partner decided to donate blood. He felt that, since there is a reported blood shartage in our area, he could really help and at the same time make sure he is not infected. Needless to say, I disagree with his thinking. We have had unprotected vaginal intercourse so I am concerned also for myself. My only consolation is that his risk is not great. I am very worried for him and anyone else it could affect. My question is, do all the blood banks notify the doner if the blood is infected and if so, how long do they take to notify them. He works 9 to 5 and I wondoer if they would call when he is at work would they tell me? Or would they mail the results? Your answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so very much for your help.


approximately 10 years ago I almost had a relationship, but penetration was never made. this occurred about 2 -3 times, since '90 I have never seen or spoken to this person again. In '91 I donated blood via a blood drive at work. My question is this, I know approxiamatley 14 screening tests are done for a variety of blood transmitted diseases, are you notified if you have any type of suspicious results? Another question, if you have any type of surgery that requires blood work before, are you tested and notifyied?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your questions. Since I live in the United States, I can only speak in regard to the American blood system. If you are outside the USA, the following information may or may not apply.

If a person tests positive on any of the screening tests, they would indeed be notified of that result. When a person donates blood, the blood bank has locating information on the donor (name, address, phone number etc.). Using that information, the blood bank will notify the donor through certified mail, by phone, etc. They will notify the donor of their positive results as soon as possible.

I would like to use this opportunity to give you the specific questions that blood banks ask prospective donors, in order to determine if the donor qualifies to give blood or not. Some of these questions deal with infectious diseases. Others deal with the overall health of the donor, and anything that may affect screening tests. Although screening tests for HIV and other diseases will most often pick up the infection by 6 months after exposure (in more than 99% of infected people), to keep the blood supply as safe as possible, persons who have put themselves at risk within the past 12 months are excluded from donation. The blood screening system takes an extra-cautious approach, to keep the blood supply as safe as it can possibly be. For some diseases like malaria, the exclusion period can be up to 3 years. New questions may be added in the future, but these are the questions that are presently asked, as of January 1998.

If a person answers "no" to the following question, they may not qualify to donate:

1) Are you feeling well and healthy today?

If a person answers "yes" to any of the following questions, they may not qualify to donate:

1) Have you donated platelets in the past 48 hours, plasma in the past 4 weeks, or whole blood in the past 8 weeks?

2) Have you ever been refused as a blood donor or been told not to donate blood?

3) Have you ever had chest pain, heart disease or lung disease?

4) Have you ever had cancer, a blood disease, or a bleeding problem?

5) Have you ever had yellow jaundice, liver disease, hepatitis, or a positive test for hepatitis?

6) Have you ever had Chagas' Disease, babesiosis or malaria?

7) Have you ever received growth hormone?

8) Have you ever had an organ or tissue transplant, including dura mater or cornea?

9) Have you or any of your blood relatives had Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease or have you ever been told your family is at increased risk for Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease?

10) Have you ever taken Tegison for psoriasis?

11) Have you had any recent unexplained weight loss?

12) In the past 3 years, have you been outside the U.S. other than to Canada?

13) In the past 12 months, have you been under a doctor's care or had a major illness or surgery?

14) In the past 12 months, have you received a blood transfusion?

15) In the past 12 months, have you had a tattoo, ear or skin piercing, acupuncture, accidental needlestick or come in contact with someone else's blood?

16) In the past 12 months, have you had close contact or sex with a person with yellow jaundice or hepatitis, or have you been given Hepatitis B immune globulin?

17) In the past 12 months, have you received any rabies shots?

18) In the past 12 months have you had a positive test for syphilis, had or been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea?

19) In the past 12 months have you been in jail for 72 consecutive hours?

20) In the past month, have you had any shots or vaccinations?

21) In the past 3 days, have you taken piroxicam (Feldene), aspirin, or anything containing aspirin?

22) In the past month, have you taken any pills, Accutane, Proscar or medications (other than aspirin)?

23. In the past 12 months, have you given money or drugs to anyone to have sex with you?

24) Have you ever used a needle, even once, to take any nonprescription drug(s) (including steroids)?

25) In the past 12 months, have you had sex, even once, with anyone who has ever used a needle to take any nonprescription drugs (including steroids)?

26) At any time since 1977, have you taken money or drugs for sex?

27) In the past 12 months, have you had sex, even once, with anyone who has taken money or drugs for sex?

28) Have you ever taken clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding problems such as hemophilia?

29) In the past 12 months, have you had sex, even once, with anyone who has taken clotting factor concentrates?

30) Do you have AIDS or have you had a positive test for the AIDS virus?

31) In the past 12 months, have you had sex, even once, with anyone who has AIDS or a positive test for the AIDS virus?

32) Are you giving blood to obtain an AIDS test?

33) Were you born in or have you live in any of the following countries since 1977: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger or Nigeria?

34) If you have traveled to any of those countries since 1977, did you receive a blood transfusion or any medical treatment with a product made from blood?

35) Have you had sexual contact with anyone born in or who has lived in these countries since 1977?

36) For Males: Have you had sex with another male, even once, since 1977?

37) For Females: In the past 12 months, have you had sex with a male who has had sex, even once since 1977, with another male?

38) For Females: In the past 6 weeks, have you been pregnant or are you now pregnant?

39) Have you read and understood all the donor information presented to you and have all your questions been answered?

40) Do you understand that if you have the AIDS virus you can give it to someone else even though you may feel well and have a negative AIDS test?

To keep the blood supply as safe as possible, a donor should be truthful in answering all of these questions. In addition to these questions, donors are also given a very quick physical exam before donating. Their vital signs are checked (blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature), and they are given a quick test to make sure the donor is not anemic. In addition, every unit of blood is tested for HIV-1, HIV-2, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis, and HTLV-I.

If a person medically qualifies to donate blood, then they should consider donating. Donating blood saves lives! For more information on blood donations in the United States, visit the American Association of Blood Banks website at

Regarding the question about testing before surgery, there is no requirement for a person to be tested for HIV. However a doctor may order the test if there is a clinical need for being tested. In the USA, if a doctor denies performing surgery on a person, solely because they have HIV (or because they are perceived of having HIV), that may violate federal anti-discrimination laws.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

KS (HHV-8)
Afraid you have HIV? Talk and let the stress out!

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