The blood supply today is safer than ever before.
The blood supply in the United States is the safest it has ever been. Fourteen different tests are performed on each unit of blood collected. 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;
- and laboratory testing.
These procedures are followed by all blood centers nationwide and are monitored under the regulatory guidance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Only volunteers are permitted to donate blood, and there are no incentives to give. Studies prove that community volunteers are the safest source of blood for transfusion. Every donor completes a health history questionnaire and screening interview to identify behaviors that indicate a high risk for carrying blood borne disease. Strict confidentiality, as well as the absence of incentives or pressure to donate, encourage honest answers and deferral of any potential donor with possible health risks.
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; CMV; Chagas disease; and West Nile Virus. The donor's blood type also is determined. Any unit of blood that shows evidence of carrying a disease is discarded and the donor is deferred from subsequent donation.