Introduction In the UK less than 3% of the population donate blood. The blood donation service faces a constant challenge of recruiting new donors and stocks remain at critically low levels.
The histories we take in genitourinary (GU) clinics match closely with screening questions asked by the donation service and we wanted to explore whether there would be any value in utilising this similarity in promoting blood donation to our often young and otherwise healthy patient population.
Methods We conducted a prospective review of 100 consecutive patients seen during clinic, adding one extra question (regarding recent travel) to our usual history proforma to match the screening questions.
Results Of the 100 patients 25 (25%) would never be able to donate blood (18 sexually active men who have sex with men (including 4 with HIV), 6 with precluding health conditions, 1 ex-intravenous drug user). There were 13 (13%) not eligible to donate blood for up to 12 months (9 ‘high risk’ sexual contact in last 12 months, 2 travel related, 1 pregnant, 1 on PEP post needlestick). Of these and the remaining eligible patients (62%), only 18 (24%) have donated (or attempted donation) previously.
Discussion We may not think of a GU clinic as a location to identify blood donors, however we found that 75% of the patients seen were potentially eligible. No additional time was needed to identify potential donors and only a brief intervention or posters in the clinic could be used to promote or signpost blood donation.
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