Surviving the Company Blood Drive
This is an excerpt from
There is Hope: Learning to Live with HIV, 2nd Edition, written by Janice Ferri, with Richard R. Roose and Jill Schwendeman, a publication of The HIV Coalition.
To avoid passing the virus along to others, HIV-infected people must never allow their blood to be used for transfusion purposes. You'll see this expressed in warnings such as "Do not donate blood or blood products." In reality, there are times when some people living with HIV may find themselves in the awkward and ironic position of having to go through the blood donation process in order to hide their medical condition. Church- and company-sponsored blood drives are a prime example. You may feel pressured by co-workers, friends, or persons in authority to give blood. If the people in charge of rounding up donors won't take "no" for an answer (or if you don't feel you can decline to donate without arousing suspicion), you have three choices:
There are several ways you can do this. On the questionnaire you fill out before donating, there will be a statement that reads something like, "I believe my blood is safe for transfusion." Check the "no" box. Alternatively, some collection services will give you a bar-coded sticker to give to the person drawing your blood. The sticker will discreetly let the service know whether you consider your blood "safe" or "not safe" for use. Choose the "not safe" sticker. Either way, no one from the blood service will ask for details.
If all else fails, you can call up the blood collection agency later that day and request that they discard your blood as unsafe. Again, they will do it with no questions asked.
Going through these gymnastics may seem rather extreme, but they are necessary to protect the blood supply--and your privacy. If you fail to let the blood collection service know of your blood's unsafe status, they will test it for HIV anyway, just as they test all donated blood. Assuming the test comes out positive, your name will go into a computerized donor deferral registry. While only blood banks are supposed to have access to these records, you don't want to have your name placed on file in connection with a blood disorder if you can possibly avoid it.
This article was provided by HIV Coalition (HIVCO).