Blood Safety Testing

Each time a person donates, our standard testing of blood is performed to help protect recipients, making sure they receive the safest possible blood.

Standard Tests

Click on the test name below for a short description.

Blood Type

A Blood Type is identified for every donor. Blood types are important to know because a donor’s and recipient patient’s blood must be compatible before transfusion can occur. All of us have an ABO group and an Rh type. These two pieces of information are what determine our “blood type”.

There are four ABO groups: A, B, AB and O. There are two Rh types: Positive and Negative. The total number of possible ABO and Rh blood types is eight. Your blood type is inherited from your parents and it never changes. The frequency of each blood type in the population of this country is listed below in percentages:

O Positive  39%
A Positive  31%
B Positive    9%
AB Positive  3%
O Negative    9%
A Negative    6%
B Negative    2%
AB Negative  1%

Chagas disease (ChLIA)

Chagas disease is a serious, often fatal disease caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), that most commonly occurs in Latin America.

Because donors who test positive likely acquired their infection long ago, all US blood centers only test donors who have not been screened previously. The frequency of detecting a positive donor is quite rare.  Individuals who test positive are indefinitely deferred.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance found among the fats in the bloodstream. Fats and cholesterol circulating in the blood are deposited in the inner walls of the arteries blocking the flow of blood. Most coronary heart disease is the result of blocked arteries.

Hepatitis B Core Antibody (Anti–HBc)

Hepatitis B Core Antibody (Anti–HBc) test detects an antibody produced after an exposure to the Hepatitis B virus. A positive test indicates past exposure or a chronic carrier state. Although full recovery may have occurred, individuals with anti-HBc are permanently deferred as blood donors.

Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg)

Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg) test detects the presence of the virus that causes Hepatitis B. A positive test indicates active or chronic disease. A positive test result should be evaluated by a physician. Individuals with confirmed positive tests are permanently deferred from blood donation.

Hepatitis C Antibody (Anti-HCV)

Hepatitis C Antibody (Anti-HCV) test detects the presence of the virus that causes Hepatitis C. This virus can infect the liver and has been associated with active and/or chronic infection. Long term or chronic infection can lead to more serious conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver. A confirmed positive test result should be evaluated by a physician. Individuals with confirmed positive tests are deferred as blood donors.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Antibody (Anti-HIV 1 / 2)

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Antibody (Anti-HIV 1 / 2) test detects the presence of the virus that causes AIDS. A positive test indicates infection with the virus and does not mean that the individual has AIDS.

Since a false positive test may be found, a second test must be completed in order to confirm that the viral exposure has occurred.

A confirmed positive test for anti-HIV should be evaluated by a physician. Individuals with confirmed positive tests are permanently deferred as blood donors.

Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type I and/or Type II Antibody (Anti-HTLV-I/Type II)

Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type I and/or Type II Antibody (Anti-HTLV-I/Type II) test detects the presence of an antibody to the viruses, Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type I and/or Type II. These viruses have been associated with two disease processes, Adult T-Cell Leukemia and Tropical Spastic Paraparesis. A positive test indicates that the individual has been exposed to this virus. It does not mean that the person will develop Adult T-Cell Leukemia or Tropical Spastic Paraparesis.

Since a false positive test may be found, a second test must be completed in order to confirm that the viral exposure has occurred. An individual with a confirmed positive test should be evaluated by a physician. Individuals with confirmed positive tests are permanently deferred as blood donors.

Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR)

Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) test detects the presence of antibodies to the organism that causes syphilis. It is not a specific test for syphilis, so false positive tests do occur. If an RPR test is positive, a confirmatory test is done to determine if the individual has been infected. A physician should evaluate all confirmed positive tests. Individuals with confirmed positive tests are deferred from donating blood for 12 months after treatment.

Ultrio Assay Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

Ultrio Assay Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Nucleic Acid tests detect the presence of HIV, HCV or HBV RNA in the blood. Through the tests, the presence of the actual viral nucleic acid is identified, so it is a direct detection of viral material. A positive test indicates current infection with HIV, HCV or HBV and should be evaluated by a physician. Individuals with confirmed positive HIV, HCV or HBV NAT results are permanently deferred as blood donors.

West Nile virus (NAT)

West Nile virus RNA is detected using the same type of test as used for HIV-1, HCV and HBV. 

Since a false positive test may be found, a second test must be completed in order to confirm that the viral exposure has occurred. 

A positive test result should be evaluated by a physician. Individuals with confirmed positive tests are deferred from blood donation for at least 120 days.

Zika virus (NAT)

Since December 2016, blood donations are tested for Zika virus. 

Zika virus is transmitted primarily by the Aedes mosquito, but it can also be spread by other routes, including by blood and sexual contact.

Individuals with a positive test are indefinitely deferred from blood donation.

Bob Grant