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Donor Education Materials


Please be sure to read this material carefully before you donate, as it explains how you can help us make the donation process safe for you and for the patients who might receive your blood.

If you have any questions about these materials, please bring them to the attention of your Donor Specialist at the time of your blood donation. 

Accuracy and honesty are essential. Your complete honesty in answering all questions is very important for the safety of patients who receive your blood. All information you provide is confidential. 


To determine if you are eligible to donate, we will: 

  • Ask questions about health, travel, and medicines 
  • Ask questions to see if you might be at risk for hepatitis, HIV, or AIDs 
  • Take your blood pressure, temperature, and pulse 
  • Take a small blood sample to make sure you are not anemic 

If you are able to donate we will: 

  • Cleanse your arm with an antiseptic. If you are allergic to iodine, please tell us.
  • Use a new, sterile, disposable needle to collect your blood 


Why we ask questions about sexual contact 
Sexual contact may cause contagious diseases like HIV to get into the bloodstream and spread to someone else through transfusions. 

Definition of sexual contact 
The words “have sexual contact with” and “sex” are used in some of the questions we will ask you, and apply to any of the activities below, whether or not a condom or other protection was used: 

  • Vaginal sex (contact between penis and vagina) 
  • Oral sex (mouth or tongue on someone’s vagina, penis, or anus) 
  • Anal sex (contact between penis and anus) 

HIV/AIDS risk behaviors and symptoms
AIDS is caused by HIV. HIV is spread mainly through sexual contact with an infected person or by sharing needles or syringes used for injecting drugs. 


  • Have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test 
  • Have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by your doctor 
  • Are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, in the past 12 months
  • Have ever taken money, drugs, or other payment for sex
  • Have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above 
  • Have had syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 12 months 
  • In the last 12 months have been in juvenile detention, lockup, jail, or prison for more than 72 consecutive hours 
  • Have any of the following conditions that can be signs or symptoms of HIV/AIDS: 
    • Unexplained weight loss or night sweats 
    • Blue or purple spots in your mouth or skin 
    • Swollen lymph nodes for more than one month 
    • White spots or unusual sores in your mouth 
    • Cough that won’t go away or shortness of breath 
    • Diarrhea that won’t go away 
    • Fever of more than 100.5º F for more than 10 days 

Remember that you can give HIV to someone else through blood transfusions even if you feel well and have a negative HIV test. This is because tests cannot detect infections for a period of time after a person is exposed to HIV. If you think you may be at risk for HIV/AIDS or want an HIV/AIDS test, please ask for information about other testing facilities. Please do not donate to receive an HIV test. 

Travel to or birth in other countries 
Blood donor tests may not be available for some contagious diseases that are found only in certain countries. If you were born in, have lived in, or visited certain countries, you may not be eligible to donate. 

What happens after your donation 
To protect patients, your blood is tested for hepatitis B and C, HIV, certain other infectious diseases, and syphilis. If your blood tests positive it will not be given to a patient. You will be notified about test results that may disqualify you from donating in the future. Please do not donate to get tested for HIV, hepatitis, or any other infections.