Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that we have all heard of before. Contrary to popular belief, it usually poses no threat to an infected person’s life nor does it cause any severe health issues for them. This is a viral infection which is technically transmitted when the skin of an infected person rubs or touches the skin of another person. The strains of the virus can also be transmitted through other physical means, such as sexual intercourse, kissing, and sharing a toothbrush or fork with an infected person.
As for blood, the common misconception is that two people who exchange bodily fluids will cause herpes to be transmitted. Although this may be true with many STDs like HIV, this is not the case with herpes. A person has little to no chance of transmitting herpes by exchanging blood with somebody else. Herpes is a virus that is contracted through contact with the skin, not blood. The reason for this is that herpes specifically targets your nerve cells. It cannot travel anywhere when it merely resides in the blood.
Therefore, if you are living with herpes and you’re wondering whether you can donate your blood or not, the answer is YES. You can donate your blood as long as you meet certain eligibility requirements. This applies to whether you have either Type HSV1 or Type HSV2 of the virus. These are basically the same virus except for where they’re located on the body. You can donate blood in either case.
The eligibility to donate blood depends on a few factors. First, the length of time in which you’ve had herpes plays a huge factor in your eligibility to donate blood. The first time you experience the symptoms of herpes, this is called the primary outbreak. This will give you the worse symptoms of the disease and they can occur within a few weeks or months after you’ve contracted it. This is when the virus is at its strongest point, so some strains of it may still exist in your blood. For this reason, you will not be eligible to donate blood.
The only time you can donate blood is when you’re not showing any symptoms or experiencing any outbreaks from the disease. This is known as the asymptomatic phase, which describes when the virus goes through a latency period. If you’re not feeling sick and have no visible signs of inflammation on your body, then it is safe to donate blood.