Health Information

Lifestyles

People who have had a body or skin piercing performed with disposable equipment may donate blood.
People who have had a tattoo may donate blood if disposable needles and single-use ink were used.
The following groups of people are at risk for HIV or hepatitis infections and must NOT donate blood:

  • Past or present users of intravenous (IV) drugs not prescribed by a physician.
  • Any man who has had sexual contact with another man, even once, since 1977.
  • People with hemophilia or related clotting disorders who have received clotting factor concentrates.
  • People who have accepted money or drugs for sex since 1977.
  • People who have been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 12 months.
  • People who have had sexual contact with people in any of the above categories in the past 12 months.
  • People who have been detained or incarcerated in a jail or prison for more than 72 consecutive hours.
  • People who have received a blood transfusion in the past 12 months.
  • People who have tested positive for the HIV (AIDS) virus.
  • Anyone having the following signs or symptoms of AIDS:
    • Fever >100.5° F for > 10 days White spots or unusual persistent diarrhea blemishes in the mouth unexplained weight loss Blue/purple spots typical of unexplained night sweats Kaposi’s sarcoma on or swollen lymph nodes under the skin or mucous persistent cough or membranes shortness breath.

If you have any questions about donating blood, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service Advocate at (804) 213-4214 or (800) 989-2201.

Travel

Malaria Risk: Because the list of the ongoing malaria-endemic areas is being updated frequently by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is impossible to list every area. Guidelines that will help expedite your donation process are:

  • Bring a list of your exact areas of travel with you when you come to donate blood. Often it’s not the entire country that is at risk for malaria, just certain areas of it. Knowing exactly where you travel is essential.
  • Know when you returned to the United States. If you traveled to a malaria-endemic area and stayed for less than six months, there is a 12-month deferral period for blood donation. The 12-month clock starts ticking the day you return to the United States.

Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease aka “CJD” aka “Mad Cow Disease”:
If you spent three or more months in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996, you cannot donate blood. The U.K. is described as England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. If you spent five or more years in Europe since 1980, you cannot donate blood. Europe is described as: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Serbia Montenegro (formaly known as Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)

U.S. military personnel and their dependents:
Military personnel and their dependents who spent a total of six or more months associated with a military base in the following countries during the following time periods cannot donate blood:

  • Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany 1980 through 1990
  • Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Italy or Greece 1980 through 1996

U. S. military personnel stationed on ships off the coast of any of the above countries may donate blood as long as they did not spend a total of six or more months during the time periods listed above.

Medication Deferral List:

Please tell us if you are now taking or if you have EVER taken any of these medications:

  • Proscar© (Finasteride) – usually given for prostate gland enlargement.
  • Avodart© (Dutasteride) – usually given for prostate gland enlargement.
  • Propecia© (Finasteride) – usually given for baldness.
  • Accutane© (Isotretinoin) – usually given for severe acne.
  • Amnesteem© (Isotretinoin) – usually given for severe acne.
  • Claravis© (Isotretinoin) – usually given for severe acne.
  • Sortret© (Isotretinoin) – usually given for severe acne.
  • Soriatane© (Acitretin) – usually given for severe psoriasis.
  • Tegison© (Etretinate) – usually given for severe psoriasis.
  • Growth hormone from human pituitary glands – used only until 1985, usually for children with delayed or impaired growth.
  • Insulin from cows (bovine – or beef – insulin) – used to treat diabetes.
  • Hepatitis B immune globulin – given following exposure to hepatitis B. NOTE: This is different from the hepatitis B vaccine that is a series of three injections given over a six-month period to prevent future infection from exposures to hepatitis B.
  • Ticlid (ticlopidine HCL) or Plavix (clopidrogel) – Platelet inhibitor.
  • Feldene (piroxicam) – given for mild to moderate arthritis pain.

If you would like to know why these medications affect you as a blood donor, please keep reading:

If you have taken or are taking Proscar, Avodart, Propecia, Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Sortret, Soriatane, or Tegison these medications can cause birth defects. Your donated blood could contain high enough levels to damage an unborn baby if transfused to a pregnant woman. Once the medication has been cleared from your blood, you may donate again. Following the last dose, the deferral period is one month for Proscar, Propecia and Accutane; six months for Avodart; and three years for Soriatane. Tegison requires an indefinite deferral.

Growth hormone from human pituitary glands was prescribed until 1985 for children with delayed or impaired growth. The hormone was obtained from human pituitary glands, which are found in the brain. Some people who took this hormone developed a rare nervous system condition called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). CJD has not been associated with synthetic growth hormone preparations available since 1985.

Insulin from cows (bovine – or beef – insulin) is injected to treat diabetes. If this insulin was imported into the United States from countries in which “mad cow disease” has been found, it could contain material from infected cattle.

Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) is injected to prevent infection following an exposure to hepatitis B. HBIG does not prevent hepatitis B infection in every case; therefore, anyone who has received HBIG must wait 12 months to donate blood since hepatitis B can be transmitted through transfusion to a patient.