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Can You Donate Blood If You Have Herpes or HPV?

Herpes and HPV are sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which affect the skin and/or mucous membranes. But can you donate blood if you have HPV, commonly known as human papillomavirus? What about herpes? Here’s the good news: the answer is a definitive “yes.” Keep reading to learn more details.

HPV and herpes are two separate viruses with many similarities. Both of them may cause lesions in the genital regions; however, they may also be present without causing any symptoms. Though similar, HPV is more common than herpes.

Symptoms and signs of HPV

HPV is one of the most common STIs in the USA. There are multiple strains or types of HPV and each may cause different signs and symptoms. The majority of these strains produce no serious health problems, but some of them may cause cancer. Some strains of HPV cause genital warts. These may develop on the scrotum, penis, anus, vagina, vulva, or cervix. They look pale, fleshy, and soft. The same strains may also produce warts in the throat and mouth, which is referred to as oral HPV.

Herpes simplex virus has two types:

HSV-1 usually produces oral herpes, affecting the skin surrounding the mouth. It may, in some instances, affect the skin surrounding the genitals.

HSV-2 usually produces genital herpes affecting the skin surrounding the anus and the genitals. It may, in some instances, affect the skin surrounding the mouth.

When symptoms of herpes occur around the mouth, lips, and throat, it’s called oral herpes. The symptoms of oral herpes are:

  • Symptoms resembling flu such as headache and swelling of lymph nodes
  • Swelling, redness, itching or pain at the site of the eruption of blisters
  • Formation of fluid-filled, painful blisters beneath the nose or on the lips
  • Fever blisters or cold sores around or on the mouth

When symptoms of herpes occur around the genitals, it’s called genital herpes. The symptoms of genital herpes are:

Symptoms resembling flu-like illness such as swollen glands, headache, chills, and fever:

  • A tingling or burning sensation at the site of the eruption of blisters
  • Itching and pain around the genitals
  • Blisters or red bumps that may ooze on the genitals
  • Lower back or leg pain
  • Burning and painful urination

Both HPV and herpes can remain dormant in the body, which is when the infection remains in the body without producing any symptoms.

Both herpes and HPV are transmitted through contact with an infected person’s skin. This may occur during sexual activity such as having oral, vaginal or anal sex. You can also get HSV by:

All sexually active persons are at risk of getting STIs including HPV and herpes. People with suppressed or weakened immune systems also have an increased risk.

The majority of cases of HPV don’t need any treatment, and the virus goes away on its own. But medications are available to treat the signs and symptoms of the condition. To help relieve warts, your doctor may prescribe the following medicines:

  • Imiquimod
  • Podofilox
  • Sinecatechins

No cure exists for herpes currently; however, various treatments are available that may help treat symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines to help relieve symptoms or reduce outbreak frequency. Some of these antivirals include:

  • Acyclovir
  • Famciclovir
  • Valacyclovir

Practice methods of safe sex to minimize the chance of getting herpes and HPV and to prevent getting other STIs. Methods include:

  • Using a condom while having sexual intercourse.
  • Using a condom or dental dam while having oral sex.
  • Getting tested for STIs regularly.
  • Asking your partners to get checked for STIs.

Can you donate blood if you have herpes? Usually, there is no restriction on donating blood for people with herpes. But, you should avoid donating blood during the primary outbreak of the disease (the initial outbreak). This is because a small quantity of virus can reach the blood during the initial manifestation of symptoms. Furthermore, blood donation is usually not advised during any illness — the flu, a primary or repeated herpes outbreak, or otherwise. While you are ill, your body is busy fighting off an infection; hence, donating blood during this time may further strain your body.

It’s perfectly fine to donate blood during a recurrent herpes outbreak if you are otherwise feeling healthy. According to the guidelines by the American Red Cross about blood donation with herpes, people with oral or genital herpes may donate blood if they otherwise feel healthy and fulfill other eligibility criteria.

Since the transmission of HPV doesn’t occur through blood, you can donate blood if you have HPV. The American Red Cross guidelines about blood donation for people with HPV states that people with venereal warts (genital warts due to HPV) may donate blood if they are otherwise feeling well and healthy and also fulfill all other eligibility criteria. Some of the requirements for donating blood are:

  • You should be feeling well and in good general health.
  • You must be at least 17 years old.
  • You must weigh at least 110 lbs.
  • You can donate whole blood every 56 days.

Herpes and HPV are sexually transmitted infections that are very common in the United States. The infection is spread through skin-to-skin contact that may occur during sexual activities such as having oral, vaginal or anal sex. Can you donate blood if you have herpes? Yes, you can donate blood with herpes if you are otherwise feeling well and healthy and also fulfill the other eligibility criteria for blood donation. Can you donate blood if you have HPV? Yes, you can donate blood with HPV if you are in good health and feeling well. You must also fulfill the other eligibility criteria to donate blood.

https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-alphabetical.html

https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements.html

https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/infected-herpes-%E2%80%94-can-i-donate-blood#targetText=When%20you're%20sick%2C%20your,you%20are%20feeling%20otherwise%20healthy.

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