Blood Donation

Blood 101

What is blood made out of?

Blood is made out of four components:

Blood Components - Plasma, White Blood Cells, Platelets, and Red Blood Cells

Blood Types

There are four main blood types: A, B, AB, O. Your blood also has an Rh factor. This Rh factor contains a positive or negative protein. This positive or negative Rh factor creates eight different blood types:  A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+,AB-, O+, and O-.

Blood Types
Graphic of What Blood Types can Receive Certain Types of Blood

When do you need blood?

  • Blood transfusions are a critical part of everyday medicine.
  • Patients receiving organ transplants, cancer therapies, and support for sickle cell anemia depend on lifesaving transfusions. Blood is also critical to the survival of premature babies and patients undergoing heart or joint replacement surgery.

Blood Facts:

  • 4.5 million Americans will a need blood transfusion each year.
  • Someone needs blood every two seconds.
  • About one in seven people entering a hospital need blood.
  • One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
  • If all blood donors gave three times a year, blood shortages would be a rare event.
  • Four main red blood cell types: A, B, AB and O. Each can be positive or negative for the Rh factor. AB is the universal recipient; O negative is the universal donor of red blood cells.

Blood Testing:

The blood supply is safer today than it ever has been. Strict screening practices in the selection of donors, as well as federal safety requirements for the testing, storage, and transportation of blood, make America’s blood supply as safe as modern technology can make it. While America’s blood supply is very safe, blood transfusions are not risk-free. Below is a list of transferrable diseases we test for:

  • HBV (Hepatitis B Virus)
  •  HCV (Hepatitis C Virus)
  • HIV-1, HIV-2 (the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS)
  • HTLV (Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus)
  •  Syphilis
  • Unexpected red cell antibodies that the donor may have formed in response to an earlier exposure to blood, through either transfusion or pregnancy
  •  West Nile Virus (WNV)
  • Sickle cell trait (performed on donors enrolling in the sickle cell program)
  • Chagas Disease
  • ZIKA Virus