FAQ:Get answers to questions about COVID-19 and Blood DonationLearn More

Blood Donor Educational Material

We know that you would not donate unless you think your blood is safe. However, in order for us to assess all risks that may affect you or a patient receiving a transfusion, it is essential that you answer each question completely and accurately. If you don’t understand a question, ask the blood center staff. All information you provide is confidential.

To determine if you are eligible to donate we will:

  • Ask about your health and travel
  • Ask about medicines you are taking or have taken
  • Ask about your risk for infections that can be transmitted by blood – especially AIDS and viral hepatitis
  • Take your blood pressure, temperature and pulse
  • Take a blood sample to be sure your blood count is acceptable

Travel to or birth in other countries:
Blood donor tests may not be available for some infections 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.

If you are eligible to donate we will:

  • Clean your arm with an antiseptic. Tell us if you have any skin allergies
  • Use a new, sterile, disposable needle to collect your blood

Most donors tolerate giving blood well, but on occasion reactions and complications may occur.  These include bruising, nerve damage, or infection at the puncture site; anxiety; feeling warm or cold; nausea or vomiting; muscle spasms; and dizziness, fainting or loss of consciousness.  Injuries from falls following dizziness or fainting may also occur.  Such reactions and complications may occur more frequently with younger donors.  Our staff is trained to recognize and mange donor reactions.  You should take care to listen to all instructions from our staff and to be alert to signs of the above reactions, including during time spent in the recovery area following your donation.

Donors may self-identify as male or female gender and answer donor screening questions accordingly.

Certain diseases, such as AIDS and hepatitis, can be spread through sexual contact and enter your bloodstream.  We will ask specific questions about sexual contact.

What do we mean by “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: 
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It is spread mainly by sexual contact with an infected person OR by sharing needles or syringes used by an infected person for injecting drugs.

Do not donate if you: 

  • Have ever had an Ebola Virus infection or disease 
  • Have ever had HIV/AIDS or have ever had a positive test for the HIV/AIDS virus 
  • Have used needles to take any drugs not prescribed by your doctor in the PAST 3 MONTHS
  • Have taken money, drugs or other payment for sex in the PAST 3 MONTHS
  • Have had sexual contact in the PAST 3 MONTHS with anyone who has ever had HIV/AIDS or has ever had a positive test for the HIV/AIDS virus, ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex, or ever used needles to take any drugs not prescribed by their doctor
  • Are a male who has had sexual contact with another male in the PAST 3 MONTHS
  • Are a female who has had sexual contact in the PAST 3 MONTHS with a male who has had sexual contact with another male in the PAST 3 MONTHS
  • Have had syphilis or gonorrhea in the PAST 3 MONTHS
  • Have been in juvenile detention, lockup, jail or prison for more than 72 consecutive hours in the PAST 12 MONTHS

DO NOT donate to get a test! If you think you may be at risk for HIV/AIDS or any other infection, do not donate simply to get a test. Ask us where you can be tested outside the blood center. 

  • DELAWARE – 1-800-422-0429
  • MARYLAND – 1-800-358-9001
  • PENNSYLVANIA – 1-877-724-3258
  • VIRGINIA – 1-800-533-4148
  • NEW JERSEY –  1-800-624-2377
  • NEW YORK – 1-800-541-2437

DO NOT donate if you have these symptoms which can be present before an HIV test turns positive:

  • Fever
  • Enlarged lymph glands
  • Sore throat
  • Rash  

Your blood can transmit infections, including HIV/AIDS, even if you feel well and all your tests are normal. This is because even the best tests cannot detect the virus for a period of time after you are infected.


  • Are taking any medication to prevent HIV infection these medications may be known by you under the following names: PrEP, PEP, TRUVADA, or DESCOVY.
  • Have taken such a medication in the past 3 months.
  • Have EVER taken any medication to treat HIV infection.

DO NOT donate if your donation might harm the patient who receives the transfusion.

Individuals should not donate for at least 14 days after complete resolution of symptoms or the date of the positive diagnostic test, whichever period is longer IF you:

  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and had symptomatic disease
  • are suspected to have COVID-19, or
  • had a positive diagnostic test (e.g. nasopharyngeal swab) for SARS-CoV-2 but never developed symptoms.

To protect patients, your blood is tested for several types of hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, and other infections. If your blood tests positive, it will not be given to a patient. There are times when your blood is not tested. If this occurs, you may not receive any notification. You will be notified about any positive test result which may disqualify you from donating in the future. 

From time to time, BBD may offer additional health-related screening tests to donors. The results of any additional health related screening tests will be provided directly to the donor.
Some of your blood may be used for research studies which will be conducted in accordance with guidelines established by the New York Blood Center committee for protection of human subjects. If the results from any study could affect your health, you will be notified.

We ask you to respond to the optional question regarding race and ethnic group to help us find better matches for people within those groups who require blood transfusion. In order to better match the blood you give to the patient, we may need to test your blood for the presence of a rare blood type.  We will also test some donors for sickle cell trait.

If you are a person with Hemochromatosis:
Revised FDA and State guidelines permit BBD to accept voluntary blood donations from individuals with hemochromatosis. Blood from donors with hemochromatosis, who pass donor eligibility and screening test requirements, will be made available to patients.
Donors with hemochromatosis will not be charged any fee for blood collection. This policy applies even if they fail to pass donor eligibility requirements or if their routine screening tests are found to be positive. These units will not be made available to patients.

If you have any questions:
If you have any questions or concerns about giving blood, please speak to the Medical Screener.

You should call our Donor Services Department at 1-888-825-6638 if, after giving blood, you:

  • become aware of any information about your health that would affect whether or not we should transfuse your blood
  • believe your blood is not safe for transfusion due to risk factors for HIV, as described above, or any other infectious disease

What Happens to the Test Results:

  • You may be asked to speak with one of our BBD medical professionals if your blood tests positive.  You may also be asked to return for a follow-up visit and further testing. Your consent will be requested again at that time.
  • The names of donors whose blood tests positive are kept in confidential files.
  • These files can be opened solely by authorized BBD personnel.
  • BBD will not release positive test results without your written consent unless required by law (e.g. to the Health Department, FDA, or by judicial process).

We will not notify you if your test results are negative or if sample tubes do not provide enough blood to complete all laboratory tests.

Some products used in blood collection contain natural latex rubber or iodine, which may cause allergic reactions.

Thank you for donating blood today!

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