Blood Safety

Each day, approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities throughout the United States (AABB). Serving as Alaska’s sole blood bank is a significant responsibility that we are proud to hold.

Keeping Alaskans safe is our highest priority. Every blood donation is tested to ensure the safety, purity, and potency of all blood collected.

Each test performed is FDA-approved for blood screening. These are not diagnostic tests. Here’s a list of the different tests we use to ensure our products are safe:

 The following tests are performed on each donation:

  • Blood Typing (ABO/Rh): This test determines whether your blood type is A, B, AB, or O, as well as whether you are Rh positive or negative.
  • Red Cell Antibody Screen: This test is a screening for any antibodies that could attack a recipient’s red blood cells.
  • Hepatitis B and C Virus (HBV, HCV): Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis comes in several forms and can be debilitating. Tests are performed for hepatitis B and C antigen, antibody, and nucleic acid.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Type 1 and Type 2: HIV attacks the body’s immune system. Left untreated, this can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Tests are performed for HIV type 1 and type 2 antibody and nucleic acid.
  • Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) Type I and Type II: HTLV is a retrovirus that infects white blood cells. HTLV-I has been associated with a number of diseases and conditions. Tests are performed for HTLV antibody.
  • Syphilis: Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can lead to serious health problems if not treated. Syphilis is caused by Treponema pallidum Tests are performed for T. pallidum antibody.
  • West Nile Virus (WNV): WNV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States. Most people who contract the virus do not develop any symptoms. Tests are performed for WNV nucleic acid. 

The following additional tests may be performed on your donation:

  • Trypanosoma cruzi: cruzi is the parasite that causes Chagas disease. Chagas disease is common in portions of Central and South America, as well as Mexico. While most people with the disease do not develop any symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 20-30% of infected people will develop severe or life-threatening medical problems. Tests are performed for T. cruzi antibody.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV): CMV is a common virus for people of all ages. Most people with CMV have no symptoms and are not aware that they are infected. People who have never been infected with CMV may be suitable donors for low birth weight premature infants and other special patients. Tests are performed for CMV antibody.
  • Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Class I and Class II: HLA antibodies are not associated with disease or illness in blood donors. These antibodies, however, can cause a serious transfusion reaction in blood recipients called Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI). Females who have a history of pregnancy are more likely to develop HLA antibodies. Tests are performed for HLA antibody.



AABB Blood FAQs:

AABB Bulletin #14-02 on TRALI:

CDC for Chagas:

CDC for CMV:

CDC for Hepatitis:


CDC for West Nile Virus:

CDC for Syphilis: