Bloodborne HIV: Don't Get Stuck!

Protect yourself from bloodborne HIV during healthcare and cosmetic services

Patient observed sterile treatment for donating blood

POST for donating blood
1. Avoid skin-piercing procedures Donating blood is a public service. If you want to donate blood, insist that those who collect your blood use only new, disposable instruments. If not, don’t take the risk – even if those who want your blood swear up and down that the reused instruments are sterile. If enough people do this, WHO, donors, and blood banks in Africa will shift all blood collection to new disposable equipment – something they should have done long ago!
2. Use new disposable instruments Ask that whoever wants to collect your blood does so with a new needle, tube, and collection bag taken from a sealed plastic bag in front of you. If so, and if they are careful not to touch or contaminate the needle before sticking it into you, you are safe.
3. You sterilize the instruments This does not apply to blood donations.
4. Ask providers how they sterilize instruments For blood donations, this does not apply. Those who want your blood should use new disposable equipment.

Additional information about donating blood

Selling or donating plasma: Big international companies buy plasma – blood with the red cells removed – to make into blood products. The machines, needles, and tubes that are used to separate plasma from red cells and to re-inject the red cells back into you are hard to sterilize. Selling plasma is safer in rich countries where governments investigate mistakes and enforce sterile procedures. But even there, whatever anyone would pay you would not cover your risk.

Risk to get HIV from donating blood

If a blood bank reuses needles or tubes to collect blood, without any effort to clean, the risk to transmit HIV from an infected to a subsequent donor may be estimated at 10% (similar to risks with intravenous injections, but with additional blood in the tube; see Table on Estimated risks in the Blood-borne Risks section).

If all instruments are new disposables, you have no risk to get HIV while donating blood.

Evidence that donating blood or plasma infected donors

Collecting plasma infected hundreds of commercial plasma donors in India and Mexico in the late 1980s and an estimated 100,000 donors in China during 1990-95 (click on “outbreaks and unexplained cases” in the index on the right of this page; then click on pages for each country). A small outbreak in Spain in the 1980s infected at least seven commercial plasma donors.

Many studies in Africa have found that blood donors – often paid replacement donors – are more likely to be HIV-positive than other adults in the community. The source of their HIV is unknown. But in any case, such studies suggest that some people got HIV while donating blood.

7 responses to “Patient observed sterile treatment for donating blood

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