Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Important information about HIV and AIDS

Important information about HIV and AIDS

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. People who have the HIV virus may feel completely healthy, but can give the virus to someone who receives their blood. This virus may develop into AIDS and could kill them. A blood test can tell you if you have HIV. However, following contact with the HIV virus, the HIV test may be negative for several weeks. The virus can still be passed to another person during this time. If you have tested positive for HIV or have a history of sexually transmitted diseases, DO NOT DONATE BLOOD.

There are many ways to catch the HIV virus. Please read the following list of activities that could expose you to the HIV virus. If you answer "YES" to any of the following statements, YOU SHOULD NOT GIVE BLOOD:

  • I am a man who has had sex with another man even one time since 1977.
  • I have taken illegal drugs with a needle
  • I have taken clotting factor concentrates for bleeding disorder such as hemophilia.
  • I have taken money or drugs for sex since 1977.
  • I have had sex within the last 12 months with someone who has been involved in any of the activities listed above.
  • I have received blood, for any reason, within the last 12 months
  • I have had or been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea in the last 12 months
  • I have had sex in the past 12 months with someone who has AIDS or who has tested positive for the AIDS virus.
  • I have been held in a correctional institution (including jail or prison) for more than 72 consecutive hours within the last 12 months.

All of these activities are called "risk factors." If you have done even one of these things, you have increased your risk of catching the HIV virus. YOU SHOULD NOT GIVE BLOOD.

In addition, you should not give blood if you have symptoms of AIDS which include:

  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Fever higher than 100.5 for more than 10 days.
  • Unexplained sweating, especially at night
  • Persistent cough, shortness of breath diarrhea.
  • Swollen lymph nodes lasting more than one month.
  • White or unusual spots in your mouth that will not go away.
  • Blue or purple spots on or under the skin or inside the mouth or nose.

It is illegal to give blood if you know you have tested positive for the HIV virus or if you know you have AIDS.
You can be fined up to $20,000 and/or go to jail for up to 10 years.

All donated blood is taken to our laboratory and tested for several infectious diseases. If you donate blood, it will be tested for:

  • HIV antibodies (HIV-1/HIV-2)
  • Hepatitis B Virus (Hepatitis B Surface Antigen, Hepatitis B Core Antibodies, ALT)
  • HIV-1 Antigen
  • Hepatitis C Virus Antibodies
  • HTLV Antibodies (HTLV-1/HTLV-11)
  • Syphilis

If you have an abnormal test result your blood may be discarded. Also, if this testing indicates that you should not donate blood or plasma, either temporarily or permanently, because of a risk of transmitting the AIDS virus or other infectious disease, you will be notified and your name will be entered on a confidential list of disqualified donors.

DO NOT DONATE BLOOD TO GET AN AIDS TEST

If you want an AIDS test, call 1-800-342-AIDS to find out where to get a test.