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View Full Version : If the Red Cross rejects your blood, are you notified?


Soapbox Monkey
01-12-2009, 09:04 PM
A "NSA sex" thread in IMHO got me thinking about how plenty of young, sexually active people probably aren't getting tested for STDs regularly, and many of them may also donate blood when the Red Cross comes to town.

Now, for obvious reasons the Red Cross has to test the blood they receive to make sure that they aren't transmitting HIV or hepatitis to recipients, but I was wondering, when they do have to reject a donation, do they notify the donor?

"Dear Sir/Ma'am,

We're sorry, but your donation had to be rejected.

Oh, and by the way, you have herpes.

Sincerely,

The Red Cross"

Basically, can a blood donation be relied upon in lieu of an actual STD test?

Shawn1767
01-12-2009, 09:49 PM
When I was in college, I received a notice after donating blood that they had found elevated levels of some compound which usually indicated Hepatitis. I was put on the disqualified donor list. A couple of years later, they recanted by saying the test was too sensitive or that it really didn't indicate Hepatitis (I don't have hepatitis, by the way) and I was reinstated as a blood donor. So, I would say that from my experience, that if you are rejected, they do let you know.

USCDiver
01-12-2009, 10:08 PM
Basically, can a blood donation be relied upon in lieu of an actual STD test?

IIRC, they test for HIV, HepC and a couple of other less common blood borne pathogens (I'm not sure about syphilis)

I believe you would be notified if any were positive, but they don't test for a bunch of other STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes simplex, HSV, etc.

troub
01-12-2009, 10:14 PM
Well, they have you read all those information binders and stuff before each time you donate. Of course, probably nobody ever does, but I do remember reading on something over the many many many times I've given blood that they will let you know if they find something you should know about (which would be limited to the things they test for, of course).

PaulParkhead
01-12-2009, 10:19 PM
Basically, can a blood donation be relied upon in lieu of an actual STD test?

No. My experience is from the UK, but the general principle applies to anyone, I'd imagine.

When I worked for blood donor services in Scotland, yes, if we found some disease in your blood, you would be notified and directed to the appropriate place for help. Of course, we tested only for diseases that could be passed on via transfusion, but I imagine that many STDs fit this category.

But no-one should rely on a blood donation for these tests because a) the agency probably doesn't test for everything, and certainly doesn't decide what to test for based on whatever unpleasant burning sensation the donor may have; and b) staff are exposed to untested blood. It's an occupational risk, I guess, but there's no need to make it worse.

tomndebb
01-12-2009, 10:20 PM
About the time my genetic hypertension kicked in, (in my early 40s, just about the time I hit my second gallon), they sent me a note listing the elevated levels of some substances and told me to not come back.

I have no idea whether they do or do not test for transmittable diseases beyond those mentioned, above.

troub
01-12-2009, 10:24 PM
http://givelife2.org/donor/faq.asp
Are the health history questions and my test results confidential?
Yes. The health history will be conducted by a trained professional in an individual booth arranged to preserve confidentiality. Your answers will be kept confidential, except where required by law. If your blood tests positive to any of the administered standard tests, you will receive confidential notification.
Bolding mine.

Also, as to what they test for:
Here's a list. (http://redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.53fabf6cc033f17a2b1ecfbf43181aa0/?vgnextoid=91d1d4f4657be110VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD&vgnextchannel=66061a53f1c37110VgnVCM1000003481a10aRCRD)

Antigen
01-12-2009, 10:32 PM
Hiya. Blood banker checking in. I don't work for the Red Cross, but I work in a hospital blood bank and deal with blood on a daily basis.

As far as I know, the American Red Cross is testing for HIV (both HIV-1 and HIV-2), syphilis, hepatitis B and C, and the "human T-cell lymphotropic virus" or HTLV. Anytime a blood unit tests positive for one of these, the unit is destroyed and the donor put on the "deferral" list. These tests will give you a permanent deferral, meaning that you won't be accepted as a donor anymore.

You are notified if your tests are positive - along with the info that this is a "presumptive" positive and you should probably go get tested. I don't know the exact method of notification but I can try to find out.

I'm sure this goes without saying, but NOBODY should EVER go donate blood as a sneaky cheap way to test for HIV or something. You're not only putting the employees at risk, but also the recipient of your unit of blood, because sometimes a test might miss a positive. Seriously, if you think you may have caught something from an unwise encounter, go to the doctor, not to the blood drive.

Soapbox Monkey
01-12-2009, 10:37 PM
I'm sure this goes without saying, but NOBODY should EVER go donate blood as a sneaky cheap way to test for HIV or something. You're not only putting the employees at risk, but also the recipient of your unit of blood, because sometimes a test might miss a positive. Seriously, if you think you may have caught something from an unwise encounter, go to the doctor, not to the blood drive.

And I don't want to give the impression that I was considering using it for such a purpose.

My thinking was that, maybe there are sexually active people out there who aren't getting tested regularly for STDs because they think "well, I give blood regularly, so I must be clean."

PaulParkhead
01-12-2009, 10:48 PM
And I don't want to give the impression that I was considering using it for such a purpose.

My thinking was that, maybe there are sexually active people out there who aren't getting tested regularly for STDs because they think "well, I give blood regularly, so I must be clean."

I'm sure there are such people - I encountered a few. But they are wrong to be so complacent. Blood banks are not testing services and while they would notify a donor if they found a disease, they test largely for diseases that would be dangerous to the recipient, not to the donor.

PaulParkhead
01-12-2009, 10:49 PM
I'm sure this goes without saying, but NOBODY should EVER go donate blood as a sneaky cheap way to test for HIV or something. You're not only putting the employees at risk, but also the recipient of your unit of blood, because sometimes a test might miss a positive. Seriously, if you think you may have caught something from an unwise encounter, go to the doctor, not to the blood drive.

Former blood banker seconds this, heartily.

DanBlather
01-12-2009, 10:51 PM
I had something in my blood that made it unusable (not an STD) and they let me donate about 3 or 4 times before teliing me. I was kind of pissed.

PaulParkhead
01-12-2009, 11:03 PM
I had something in my blood that made it unusable (not an STD) and they let me donate about 3 or 4 times before teliing me. I was kind of pissed.

How frequently could you donate? On the face of it, I'd be pissed about this too.

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