Blood donation is an integral part of health care. It is often the only way to get blood for a patient who needs it. There are many reasons why people need donated blood, including cancer, trauma, sickle cell anemia, and leukemia.
To make sure that the donated blood does not harm the patient, there are specific requirements that you must meet.
One of these requirements is that you must not have any infectious diseases, but what about if you have Herpes? Can you donate blood? The short answer is YES; you can donate the blood but with few exemptions.
You can donate blood if you don’t have an active infection or the virus has left your body. Let’s first evaluate the symptoms and types of Herpes before looking further into whether or not someone with Herpes can donate blood.
Symptoms of Herpes
Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus. It can be transmitted even if there are no visible lesions or sores. The infection may be present in the body without any symptoms at all. This is why it is essential to get tested to know your status and take precautions to avoid spreading the virus.
It can take anywhere from two weeks to four months for a person with a new herpes infection (primary infection) to have any symptoms or signs of an outbreak, and this time period can vary from person to person.
The signs and symptoms of Herpes can vary from person to person. Some people never have any symptoms, while others may have a few or many outbreaks throughout their lifetime. The most common symptoms include:
- Painful blisters that usually occur on the mouth or genitals but can also be found in other areas of the body
- A tingling sensation that starts before the blisters
- burning or uncomfortable urination
- Pain in the lower back or legs
- Having difficulty peeing due to urethral sores
Types of Herpes
There are two types of Herpes: herpes type 1 and type 2.
The HSV-1 virus can be found in the saliva of a person who has an oral infection. It is spread through kissing, sharing drinks and utensils, and touching the skin. The HSV-2 virus is usually sexually transmitted and spreads through skin contact with someone with a genital infection.
HSV-1 usually causes cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth or on the face. HSV-2 typically causes sores or blisters on the genitals, rectum, thighs, or buttocks.
Detailed Explanation of Blood Donation
Till now, we have a sound knowledge of Herpes. So, let’s elaborate on the main topic further. Previously, blood collection facilities permitted herpes carriers to donate blood as long as they were not infected. This is due to the widespread misconception that Herpes could only spread during sexual activity or through direct skin-to-skin contact.
Recent research suggests that Herpes can spread through blood transfusions regardless of whether the infected person has an active infection. Many institutions still accept blood from herpes carriers because there isn’t enough evidence to refute this theory.
Although HSV-2 is more dangerous than HSV-1, many hospitals accept blood donations from carriers of either virus. If you have cold sores or new or unhealed lesions, you might not be able to donate blood if you have HSV-1 or 2. You can donate again after your herpes sores have fully recovered or 48 hours after receiving the antiviral drug for the infection.
If you are still unsure whether you are eligible to donate blood, visit MyPositiveSingles to be assessed for sexually transmitted diseases.