About Blood Safety
The blood supply in the United States is much safer today than ever before. The risk of HIV transmission has been nearly eliminated and the risk of hepatitis transmission greatly reduced thanks to multiple levels of safeguards, including:
Comprehensive evaluation of donors' medical and social history to exclude donors who may be carriers of infectious agents
Physical examination of the donor
Strict donation procedures using sterile supplies
SunCoast Blood Centers has joined the National Blood Testing Cooperative (NBTC), a new blood testing cooperative organization created by nine non-profit blood centers throughout the country, to allow community-based blood centers to take control of their blood testing needs. NBTC provides high-quality testing services, at cost, to its owner-members by eliminating unnecessary profit-mark-ups that large testing entities charge.
NBTC is the first cooperative formed specifically for blood testing needs. Being owned by the organizations it serves, NBTC has a fundamental understanding of the blood banking industry and understands the importance of getting high-quality product testing in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
These procedures are followed by all blood centers nationwide and are monitored under the regulatory guidance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Only volunteers are permitted to donate blood, and there is no monetary compensation to give. Studies prove that community volunteers are the safest source of blood for transfusion. Every donor completes a health history questionnaire and screening interview to identify behaviors that indicate a high risk for carrying blood borne disease. Strict confidentiality, as well as the absence of incentives or pressure to donate, encourage honest answers and deferral of any potential donor with possible health risks.
Every time someone donates blood, his or her blood is tested for evidence of infectious disease, including hepatitis B and C; HIV 1 and 2; HTLV I and II; syphilis; and CMV. The donor's blood type also is determined. Any unit of blood that shows evidence of carrying a disease is discarded and the donor is deferred from subsequent donation.
In 2016 SunCoast became the first blood bank in the country to provide pathogen reduced platelets to the hospitals it serves. This revolutionary technology significantly reduces the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections such as hepatitis B and C, HIV, West Nile virus and bacteria, as well as emerging pathogens such as Chikungunya, malaria and dengue. Platelets contaminated with bacteria remain one of the highest causes of transfusion-related mortality, and pathogen reduction will become an added layer of protection for transfused platelets and improve patient outcomes within the community.