It occurs to me that in my previous post on HIV and blood donation my overseas readers, and some of my British ones might not understand the reference to a “free cup of tea and a biscuit”. This is a reference to the fact the UK is one of only 39 countries worldwide that gets it’s blood from voluntary unpaid donors. Their only reward is the free cup of tea and biscuit. They have in the past also given donors iron tablets too, presumably to help them throw up the tea & biscuit again.
It is true that research shows that this approach of using unpaid donors, together with rigourous screening of donated blood maximises safety. It is important however that we should not be too self congratulatory. I distinctly remember as a student being taught that UK donors provided the safest blood in the world, because our donors were altruistic, selfless, respectable people. The sort of people who definitely definitely never get nasty diseases affecting the nether regions.