World Blood Donor Day – who can donate blood and who is not?
Donating blood can help heal and support many people. However, not everyone is allowed to donate blood. Here’s what you need to know about who can and can’t donate blood
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Donating blood is a selfless act that can treat and support millions of people with chronic health conditions. The urgency to donate blood has increased, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the lack of blood donation becoming a concern.
Every year, World Blood Donor Day – June 14 – raises awareness of the importance of blood donation, encouraging many people to take steps to get involved as blood donors.
However, while a person may want to donate blood, it is also important to know that certain WHO requirements prohibit certain people from donating blood.
Who can donate blood?
You can donate blood if you:
- are between 17 and 65 years old
- weigh between 50kg and 158kg
- have suitable veins (which will be checked before donating)
- meet all donor eligibility criteria
- are generally fit and healthy
Who can’t donate blood?
Blood taken from an unfit person is not only bad for the donor, but can also worsen the health of the patient who receives the blood.
You cannot donate blood if you:
- have/have had most types of cancer
- have heart problems
- having received blood, platelets, plasma or any other blood product after January 1, 1980
- have tested HIV positive
- have had an organ transplant
- are a carrier of hepatitis B or C
- injected non-prescription drugs, including injectable bodybuilding and tanning agents. If these were prescribed by a doctor, you might still be able to donate
- have other medical conditions that prevent you from donating. Find the full list in the health, eligibility and travel section of the NHS
Who should wait to donate blood?
Some people may not be eligible to donate blood temporarily for health, travel or lifestyle reasons.
You may have to wait up to three months before you can donate, if you have had some sexual activity. This includes:
- if you have had anal sex with a new partner in the last three months
- if you have finished taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within the last three months
- if you have had sexual contact with a partner who is HIV positive, HTVL+, carrier of hepatitis B or C, positive syphilis
- if you have had sexual contact with someone who received money or drugs for sex
- if you have had sexual contact with someone who has injected non-prescribed drugs, including injectable bodybuilding and tanning agents
Other reasons why you may have to wait to donate blood include:
- if you feel bad
- you are pregnant or have had a baby in the last six months
- you have recently had a tattoo or piercing
- if you are traveling to and from certain countries outside the UK
- you are under evaluation or investigation for a medical condition such as heart disease
If you are unsure who can or cannot donate, you can call 0300 123 23 23 for more information or check the NHS Blood and Transplant website.