How much blood is drawn?

You will donate approximately 475ml of blood.

Does blood donation hurt?

No. The simple finger-prick test and the needle insertion may cause a little bit of discomfort, but it should not be painful during the donation process.

What if my blood iron levels are low?

You can easily fix this with an iron supplement or a healthy iron-rich diet. If your results reveal that you are anaemic, your results and advice on further treatment will be posted to you.

How long does the donation process take?

The entire donation process takes about 20-30 minutes, questionnaire and pre-examination included. The actual donation takes only ten minutes.

Can I donate while pregnant?

No. Pregnant or nursing mothers should not give blood until six months after the baby's birth or three months after the baby is weaned.

Can I donate during my menstrual period?

Yes, if you are feeling well.

What about racial profiling?

There has never been a policy of racial profiling in the Western Cape. We collect and distribute blood/blood products without discrimination. As long as people conform to donation criteria, we will accept them as donors.

Can infected blood then slip through the radar?

No. We interview our donors extensively and ask people who have been involved in high-risk behaviour not to donate blood for up to six months.

What is an infection window period?

It is the time from which a person is infected with HIV (or other viruses) until the time when the virus can be detected in blood tests. The danger is that although a person tests “negative” during this period, the virus is still in their blood and can theoretically be passed on to a patient through their blood donation. Due to the new technology we’re using (NAT testing), which tests for the DNA of the virus, the window period has been reduced to 5 – 11 days.

Can I get AIDS from donating blood?

Absolutely not. All needles and equipment are new, sterile and disposable. All needles are sealed and used only once.