The Blood Bank of Hawaii has implemented new eligibility criteria that will expand the blood donor community to better meet the state’s medical needs. The new guidelines will allow several categories of people who were previously unable to donate to now give blood.
Effective at the beginning of April, people with previous health issues—specifically cancer survivors—are now eligible to donate blood. New medical research has shown that cancer is not spread through blood transfusion. This data now allows cancer survivors who have completed treatment and have been cancer-free for one year or more to donate blood. But those with blood or bone marrow types of cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma, are still prohibited from donating.
In addition, people with autoimmune disorders, who have had a stroke or have lung and heart conditions are also eligible as long as no symptoms are present at the time of donation. People with these conditions were previously categorized as permanent deferrals for blood donation.
Also, people who have been recently tattooed or pierced will also be able to donate, according to the eligibility changes. There had been temporary deferrals and waiting period for those with recent tattoos and piercings. The new guidelines allow those with new tattoos to donate as long as the process was performed at a state regulated tattoo shop; piercings need to have been performed using a sterile procedure or gun method with new jewelry.
With advancements in medical research and technology, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that these new guidelines are safe for both donors and patients.
“A change of this scale has not happened in Hawaii for decades,” said Kim-Anh Nguyen, President and CEO of Blood Bank of Hawaii. “Medical research has opened up doors for donors without compromising the safety of the donors and patients. With our new donor history questionnaire and new eligibility criteria we are now in line with national standards of practice.”
For eligibility information and changes, visit BBH.org. People who think they may be eligible under the new criteria may call 808-848-4745 for more information regarding an eligibility review.
Photo: US Marine Corps/Wikimedia Commons