The blood supply in the United States is 99.99% safe. The risk of HIV transmission has been nearly eliminated, and the risk of hepatitis transmission greatly reduced thanks to multiple levels of safeguards, including:
- Comprehensive evaluation of donors’ medical and social history to exclude donors who may be carriers of infectious agents
- Physical examination of the donor
- Strict donation procedures using sterile supplies
- Laboratory testing to detect infectious diseases as soon as possible
About Blood Safety
Safety procedures are followed by all blood centers nationwide and are monitored under the regulatory guidance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As new diseases, such as Creutfeldt-Jakob (human form of mad-cow disease) or West Nile Virus threaten the safety of the blood supply, the FDA issues new screening guidelines to reduce the risk of accepting an infected donor, or a new lab test is developed. The qualifications to be an acceptable donor frequently change, which helps increase the safety of the blood supply.
Only volunteers are permitted to donate blood. Studies prove community volunteers are the safest source of blood for transfusion. Every donor completes a health history questionnaire and a screening interview to identify behaviors that indicate a high risk for carrying blood borne disease. Strict confidentiality encourages honest answers, which helps The Blood Connection accept the healthiest, lowest-risk donors.
Every time someone donates blood, his or her blood is tested for evidence of infectious disease, including hepatitis B and C; HIV 1 and 2; HTLV I and II; syphilis; and West Nile Virus. The donor’s blood type is also determined. Any unit of blood that shows evidence of carrying a disease is discarded. The donor is notified not to donate blood again, and to seek medical attention if appropriate.