Merck Manual

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Some Conditions That Disqualify People From Donating Blood

Some Conditions That Disqualify People From Donating Blood


Permanent or Temporary Disqualification



This includes any any person who has had a positive test for HIV infection, ever.

This includes any person who has ever taken any medication to treat HIV infection.

Activities that increase risk of HIV infection


Wait for 2 years from last use of any medication given by injection to prevent HIV infection (such as long-acting antiviral PrEP or PEP).

Wait for 3 months from the last use of any medication by mouth (oral) to prevent HIV infection (antiviral PrEP or PEP).

Wait 3 months from the last time high-risk activity has taken place. Activities include

  • Non-prescription injection drug use

  • Engaged in sex for money or drugs

  • New sexual partner or more than one sexual partner in the last 3 months and engaged in anal sex in the last 3 months

  • Sexual contact with a person who has ever had a positive HIV test

  • Sexual contact with a person who used non-prescription injection drugs in the past 3 months or a person who engaged in sex for money or drugs in the past 3 months

  • Contact with blood of another person through a needle stick or through contact with the donor’s open wound or mucous membranes

  • Completion of treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea

  • Tattoo, ear, or body piercing unless done by a state-regulated entity with sterile needles and non-reused ink, or done using single-use equipment

  • Receiving an allogeneic (from another person) transfusion of whole blood or blood components


People can donate blood after the anemia resolves.


Bleeding disorders, congenital



People cannot donate even if they are cancer-free.

Cancers, other


People may donate if they are cancer-free and treatment was completed more than 12 months previously.

People with mild, treatable forms (such as small skin cancers) that have been completely removed may be able to donate before 12 months.

Medications (some), such as acitretin, dutasteride, etretinate, finasteride, and isotretinoin


How long people have to wait depends on the medication.

Most medications do not disqualify people from donating blood.

Heart disease, severe


Any heart disease must be medically evaluated and treated, and the person should have no heart-related symptoms within the last 6 months


People who have ever had hepatitis due to a virus or tested positive for hepatitis B or C cannot donate blood.

Hepatitis, exposure to


People must wait 12 months after possible exposure (for example, living with or having sex with a person with hepatitis, being incarcerated in a correctional facility for more than 72 hours, or having a human bite that broke the skin).


People can donate after their blood pressure is controlled.


Exposure may occur when

  • People have used insulin derived from cows.

  • People have spent time in Europe since 1980 (ranging from more than 3 months to 5 years, depending on the country)

  • U.S. military personnel who lived on bases in Europe for more than 6 months during 1980–1996.


People must wait 1–3 years.



People must wait 6 weeks after giving birth.

Major surgery if recent



Temporary or permanent

People who received a transfusion in the United States must wait 3 months.

People who received a transfusion in the United Kingdom, Ireland, or France since 1980 cannot donate blood permanently.

Vaccines (some)


How long people have to wait depends on the vaccine.


For recent Zika virus infection, the U.S. FDA recommends people wait 120 days from the day symptoms resolve or from the last positive test result, whichever is longer.

Data from The U. S. FDA May 2023 Guidance document: Recommendations for Evaluating Donor Eligibility Using Individual Risk-Based Questions to Reduce the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products.

FDA = Food and Drug Administration; HIV = human immunodeficiency virus; PrEP = pre-exposure prophylaxis; PEP = post-exposure prophylaxis.