Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Some Conditions That Disqualify People From Donating Blood

Some Conditions That Disqualify People From Donating Blood


Permanent or Temporary Disqualification



This includes any positive test for HIV, ever.

Activities that increase risk of HIV infection


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

  • Men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with MSM

  • 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

Anemia Overview of Anemia (a low level of hemoglobin in the blood)


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.

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


How long people have to wait depends on the drug.

Most drugs 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.

Possible exposure to prion diseases, such as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Overview of Prion Diseases disease (also called mad cow disease)


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.

Malaria Malaria or exposure to malaria


People must wait 1–3 years.



Women must wait 6 weeks after giving birth.

Major surgery if recent


Tattoos or ear or body piercing


People must wait 3 months.


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 American Red Cross Blood Donor Eligibility information.

FDA = Food and Drug Administration; HIV = human immunodeficiency virus.