From the Red Cross...

Blood Donation Eligibility Guidelines



To give blood, you must be healthy, at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds.


Donor Information


The most needed blood types are O+, O-, AB- and B-. These blood types are absolutely critical.


If you have a donor card (i.e., know your blood type and have given before), go to the blood drives!


If you have one of the critical blood types but do not have a donor card, go to the blood drives anyway!


If you do not know your blood type and do not have a donor card, the Red Cross is asking you to go to blood drives next week so as not to confuse the system. More screening (and thus, more time) is required for new donors. You may also call for an appointment at 1-800-GIVELIFE (1-800-448-3543).


If you have given blood in the last 56 days (8 weeks), you cannot give blood again, even if you have one of the critical blood types.




Do not give blood to get an AIDS test. Please see your own doctor or local health department to get tested. We are required to report all positive HIV results to public health officials.


If you have any reason to believe you have AIDS, do not donate blood.

You risk harming a vulnerable patient who needs blood transfusions. With new, advanced tests, the risk of transmitting HIV through a blood transfusion is 1 in 1.5 million.


However, before blood is drawn, we must ensure that a donor does not display the high risk behaviors associated with certain infectious diseases. Do not give blood if you are at risk for getting and spreading the AIDS virus. According to the Food and Drug Administration, you are at risk if:


        you are a male who has had sex with another male since 1977, even once

        you have ever used a needle, even once, to take any illegal drugs or steroids

        you have taken clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia

        you have ever had a positive test for AIDS (HIV) or AIDS antibody or antigen

        you have AIDS or one of its symptoms, which include:

o       unexplained weight loss (10 pounds or more in less than 2 months)

o       night sweats

o       blue or purple spots on or under the skin

o       long-lasting white spots or unusual sores in your mouth

o       lumps in your neck, armpits, or groin that last more than a month

o       fever higher than 99 degrees that lasts more than 10 days

o       diarrhea lasting over a month

o       persistent cough and shortness of breath

        you have had sex with any person described above in the last 12 months

        you have been given money or drugs for sex since 1977

        you were born in or lived in (for more than one year) Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger, or Nigeria since 1977

o       you received blood transfusions or medical treatment with a blood product in any of these countries since 1977

o       you had sex with anyone who was born in or lived in any of these countries since 1977


AIDS Exposure

        defer 12 months if health care worker exposed to blood of patients with HIV infection by a needle stick or open wound



        defer temporarily if breathing difficulty is present




        accept if controlled


Blood Pressure


        accept with or without medications if blood pressure is within American Red Cross limits on day of donation


Blood Transfusion


        defer for 12 months





o       if 5 years from date of diagnosis, surgery or last radiation treatment

o       if no recurrence

o       if no chemotherapy

o       some types of skin cancer


o       leukemia or lymphoma

o       recurrence of same cancer (except squamous or basal cell)


Cold, Flu or Sore Throat


        defer temporarily for active cold or flu symptoms such as fever, sore throat, productive cough, or general fatigue on day of donation


Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)


        defer indefinitely if at increased risk, a history of, diagnosed, or if any relatives have been diagnosed

        see Travel Outside of U. S. section (bottom of page)




        accept teeth cleaning, scaling, root canal, fillings and tooth extraction if no infection present

        defer 3 days for oral surgery, abscesses or infection




        accept two weeks after initial dosage of insulin or change of dosage

        defer indefinitely if, since 1980, received an injection of bovine (beef) insulin made from cattle from the United Kingdom

        Donation Intervals (for whole blood)

        accept every 8 weeks (or every 56 days)

        accept 3 days after routine plateletpheresis

        accept 28 days after routine plasmapheresis




        accept if seizure-free for 3 months with or without medications


Heart Disease/Surgery


        evaluated individually, must have no restrictions on physical activity, be symptom-free and on no medication for heart disease except for aspirin

        6-month wait after heart attack if above criteria met

        accept musculoskeletal (non-cardiac) chest pain

        6-month deferral for non-diagnosed heart related chest pain

        accept pacemaker if pulse and above criteria met




        each donor's hemoglobin is tested at the blood collection site

        if deferred, deferral is only temporary and donor may try again next day


Hepatitis/Unexplained Jaundice


        defer indefinitely hepatitis/yellow jaundice or liver disease of unknown origin on or after age 11

        defer indefinitely if ever used a needle, even once to take any illegal drugs or steroids

        accept jaundice or hepatitis associated with birth, medications, bile duct obstruction, or hepatitis before age 11

        defer confirmed positive HBsAg, repeat reactive anti-HCV or anti-HBc at any age


Hepatitis Exposure


        defer 12 months for close contact with hepatitis patient (close contact is defined as sexual contact or sharing same household, kitchen, and/or toilet facilities) or as membership group, e. g. dormitory, in which multiple cases of hepatitis have occurred

        defer 12 months someone who is a current inmate of a correctional institution (including jails, prisons or detention centers) or someone who has been incarcerated for more than 72 consecutive hours during previous 12 months or someone who has been in a chronic long-term psychiatric/mental institution for more than 28 days

        defer 12 months following blood transfusion, blood injections, tattoo, non-sterile needle stick/body piercing or blood contact with open wound, non-intact skin or mucous membrane

        defer 12 months following human bite that resulted in a wound which broke the skin

        accept casual contact (no contact with blood or body fluids)

        defer 12 months for intranasal use of cocaine or any street drug

        accept health care workers working with hepatitis/HIV positive patients providing:

o       there is no contact with blood through nonsterile percutaneous  innoculation (needle stick), an open wound, non-intact skin or mucous membrane

        accept sterile body piercing




        defer 4 weeks for German Measles (Rubella), MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and Chicken Pox vaccine (Varivax)

        defer 3 weeks for exposure to the following (unless immunized or had the disease):

o       Red Measles

o       German Measles

o       Chicken Pox

o       Mumps

        defer 3 weeks for exposure to meningitis

        defer 2 weeks for Red Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, Oral Polio, Small Pox and Yellow Fever vaccine

        defer 7 days for hepatitis B vaccine when given for protection and not exposure (for exposure see Hepatitis Exposure section)

        accept hepatitis A vaccine

        accept most other immunizations/ vaccinations, e.g. flu, tetanus, providing donor is symptom-free and fever-free


Infectious Mononucleosis


        accept if recovered




        defer 3 years after last symptom

        see Travel Outside of U.S. section




        defer indefinitely for Pituitary-Derived Human Growth Hormone and Tegison

        defer 3 years from last dose of Soriatane

        defer 8 weeks for injections of radioactive material

        defer 4 weeks for Accutane, Proscar, Propecia & Gold therapy

        defer 2 weeks for any change in insulin dose

        defer for 2 days from last dose of oral or intramuscular antibiotics or antifungal unless taking for chronic condition

        defer for 2 days from last dose of antivirals


Organ/Tissue Transplants


        defer 12 months for allogeneic organ or tissue transplants, including dental powder

        defer if received dura mater transplant

        accept autologous transplants if only autologous received




        defer while pregnant

        defer 6 weeks after uncomplicated third trimester or term delivery or caesarean section

        defer 12 months if delivery required a blood transfusion

        accept nursing mothers


Serious Illness


        donors will be individually evaluated

        defer indefinitely Kaposi's sarcoma, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Chagas Disease, Babesiosis, Lyme Disease, and Leishmaniasis


Sickle Cell


        defer for sickle cell disease

        accept for sickle cell trait


Skin Disease and Rash


        donors will be individually evaluated

        phlebotomy site must be free of rash/skin disease




        accept history of recent surgery if:

o       underlying illness does not disqualify donor

o       stitches/staples dissolved or removed

o       wound is healed

o       donor has resumed normal activity and is feeling well

        accept minor cuts requiring stitches/staples after 48 hours if no signs of infection




        defer if have had or have been treated for in last 12 months

        defer if positive test for syphilis in past 12 months

        documentation of treatment may be required


Travel Outside of U.S.


        defer 12 months for travel into areas with a risk of malaria

        defer 3 years after having lived for 1 year or more in a malarial-risk area

        defer indefinitely if during 1980 - 1996 spent a total time that adds up to 6 months or more in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Channel Islands)

        see AIDS section