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STDs & Donating Blood: Need to Know

Donating blood is a simple way to make a huge difference. You can help a friend, a family member, or even a total stranger during a life-threatening situation. Before donating blood, keep a few things in mind because not everyone is eligible to donate blood. Sometimes, having an STD within the past twelve months can disqualify you from donating.

STDs & Blood Donations

Which STDs Disqualify Me?

The American Red Cross says that some STDs can disqualify you from a donation, while others are safe. Chlamydia, human papillomavirus and herpes simplex virus will not disqualify you provided you are otherwise healthy and meet all other requirements. A diagnosis and treatment of gonorrhea or syphilis within the past 12 months will prevent you from donating blood, though. You must wait one full year after treatment before donating.

Life-Threatening Transfusions

Hepatitis is an infection that can easily transmit through blood and just like other dangerous STDs, you must wait 12 months. For the past 30 years, until 2015, gay men were not allowed to donate blood out of a fear of spreading HIV/AIDS. The ban has since been lifted but restrictions still apply. For men who have sex with men, you must wait 12 months since engaging in sexual activity before you can donate blood the first time even if you know your partner, and you, are negative. Individuals should not donate blood if they have HIV/AIDS or believe they have been recently exposed to the infection, especially if you participate in any activity that could be considered risky.

Donating blood can be life-changing for many people. If you have a rarer blood type, consider donating as often as you can. Certain blood types are always in need as well. Please keep in mind the restrictions related to STDs and HIV when considering donating blood.

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