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What you can expect before donating blood?

Before the procedure

Before you can donate blood, you will be asked to fill out a confidential medical history. It includes questions about behaviors known to carry a higher risk of bloodborne infections — infections that are transmitted through blood.

Because of the risk of bloodborne infections, not everyone can donate blood. The following are groups that are not eligible to donate blood:

  • Anyone who has used injected drugs, steroids or another substance not prescribed by a health care provider in the past three months
  • Men who have had sexual contact with other men in the past three months
  • Anyone who has a congenital coagulation factor deficiency
  • Anyone who has had a positive test for HIV
  • Anyone who has engaged in sex for money or drugs in the past three months
  • Anyone who, in the past 12 months, has had close contact with — lived with or had sexual contact with — a person who has viral hepatitis
  • Anyone who has had babesiosis, a rare and severe tick-borne disease, or the parasitic infection Chagas' disease

You will also have a brief physical exam. The exam includes checking your blood pressure, pulse and temperature. A small sample of blood is taken from a finger prick and is used to check the oxygen-carrying part of your blood (hemoglobin level). If your hemoglobin concentration is within a healthy range, and you've met all the other screening requirements, you can donate blood.