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Is a blood sample needed before I can donate blood?

How do blood banks check to see if someone has HIV before they take blood. Is there a screening or blood sample drawn first? I am worried and would like to know.
When a person goes to donate blood, they fill out a very detailed questionnaire. This contains a list of questions aimed at cutting down the pool of blood donors to those that do not engage in activities that put them at higher risk of contracting blood-borne infections such as hepatitis or HIV. Examples of these high-risk activities include intravenous drug use, travel to certain areas of the world and sexual activity with prostitutes. All blood that is obtained from donors is put through a very rigorous screening process, which includes very sensitive tests for a variety of infections, including HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Donors are contacted on an individual and confidential basis if any of their samples turn up positive for any abnormalities.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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