Donating plasma is like donating ”the gift of life”.
It can save lots of lives as plasma protein therapies in many cases, might be the only treatment for rare diseases and chronic conditions.
However, not everyone can donate plasma even though they want to since the blood centers need to make sure the received blood is healthy enough.
Many donors have questions like ”can you donate plasma when you have herpes, other STDs, HIV, and Hepatitis B?”. We will help you answer this question and provide you a fundamental understanding of plasma donation.
So scroll down before heading to the blood donation center!
Table of Contents
What Is Blood Plasma?
Blood includes red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma.
Plasma is the largest but often forgotten part of blood. It carries water, salts, enzymes, antibodies, and other proteins. This light yellow liquid acts as a carrier of blood components, hormones, nutrients, and proteins throughout the body. Besides, it also removes the cells’ waste products such as urea.
What To Know About Plasma Donation
As mentioned earlier, doctors can use plasma to treat lots of serious health problems.
Those whose body misses and lacks proteins need plasma-derived therapies and rely on these throughout their lives.
The antibodies and chemicals in plasma help blood clot and are needed in emergencies from burns, shock, trauma, animal bites, and other medical emergencies.
Other medical conditions that plasma donation can help are:
- Cancer. People with different types of cancer, especially leukemia, need plasma transfusions. Fresh frozen plasma can be given to them if they have a problem called DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation).
- Major surgery. Plasma is often transfused to patients before undergoing surgery when blood tests show that their blood may not clot adequately or other transplants surgery such as liver, bone marrow.
Can You Donate Plasma When You Have Herpes?
Herpes is a pretty common infection that remains in your body for life. It is spread from skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, often during vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, and kissing. Herpes causes outbreaks of itchy, painful blisters or sores that come and go.
Now you might get a bit panicked to know that herpes stays in your body for life.
However, the significant distinction between herpes and some other STDs, for example, HIV, is that herpes is not a virus that is present in the blood.
As herpes is only transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, thus, infected patients cannot pass the virus to another person through a blood transfusion.
So can you donate plasma if you have herpes? Yes, but there are certain restrictions and stipulations when donating blood with herpes.
But can you donate blood if you have herpes? If you can donate plasma, then sure, donating blood is possible!
Suppose someone has herpes and is under antiviral medication. In that case, most donation centers will require that they wait at least 24 hours after taking the last dose of medication before going for plasma donation.
Also, most blood donation centers won’t accept blood from someone who is currently experiencing their first-ever outbreak. Since it is often the most severe for patients, a small amount of the virus might possibly enter the bloodstream.
How About Other Curable STDs?
Can you donate blood if you have chlamydia or HPV? The good news is, you can, but only when you are physically healthy and meet all other eligibility requirements from the medical centers.
The possibility is also for those who have had curable STDs in the past. However, according to the American Red Cross, you must wait 12 months after treatment for gonorrhea, and syphilis before donating plasma.
Can You Donate Plasma If You Have HIV And Hepatitis B?
Unfortunately, because HIV and hepatitis can be transmitted through the blood, people who have these diseases cannot donate plasma and other types of blood cells.
In many cases, even someone who is not HIV positive but gets involved in activities that put them at risk of HIV transmission can also be rejected from donating plasma.
All blood is screened for hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, and other infections before donating. Blood needs to pass these screenings to be used.
What to Expect During Plasma Donation
Like we said, no matter how willing you are to donate your plasma, the centers need to make sure that your blood is as healthy as possible. To make sure your participation is legal and ethical, you need to be at least 18 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds.
You will be required to get a physical examination and test for certain viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B.
Also, donating plasma is a little different from donating blood. The process usually takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
If you donate blood, it goes straight into a bag and is later separated in a lab. However, when it comes to donating plasma, the blood that’s taken from your arm goes through a machine to separate the different parts of your blood.
By the way, don’t worry, the parts that are left go back into your body, including red blood cells, along with some saline (saltwater).
Plasma donation is also not so hurtful. Most donors compare the feeling of the inserting needle to a mild bee sting. You will also be required to do a finger stick test to evaluate your protein and hemoglobin levels.
Watch video: The plasma donation process
How To Safely Donate Plasma
First thing first, make sure you’re visiting a high-qualified blood donation center. The medical providers should require you to do a screening process in which they perform an initial blood test on you and a physical exam, as well as ask you to fill out a questionnaire. You should notify the medical staff if you have recently undergone surgery, had any medication, and any piercing or a tattoo within the past 12 months.
Currently, there are more than 900 licensed and IQPP-certified plasma collection centers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. It is best to check with the American Red Cross for the accredited plasma donation center near you. You should contact the center to find out the open hours and ask any related questions.
Second, pay attention to how often you donate. According to the American Red Cross, you can donate plasma every 28 days, up to 13 times per year. Even though the FDA allows people to give plasma more frequently, this is the best number to guarantee your safety.
Third, make sure you have enough sleep and drink 16 ounces of clear, nonalcoholic water before your donation. This is to help prevent side effects such as dehydration, lightheadedness, dizziness, and fatigue.
How to safely donate plasma. Source: Artem Podrez
The Final Thoughts
Plasma donating is a relatively safe, not so hurtful, and meaningful act. People can still give away their plasma even when they have had curable STDs such as herpes, chlamydia. However, bear in mind that our article is just for reference, therefore, you should also ask the medical staff can you donate plasma if you have herpes and other STDs for a more detailed answer.
As we mentioned earlier, donating blood with herpes can be restricted, along with other blood-contagious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B.
But there are many other ways to help!
We believe that by informing the community about the importance of plasma donation and suggesting your acquaintance join in this activity, you are making a significant contribution to saving thousands of lives.