Inked can still give blood

Red Cross low­ers wait pe­riod for newly tat­tooed in a bid to boost donor num­bers

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Is­abell Petrinic

IN A bid to in­crease blood donor num­bers – which are flatlin­ing na­tion­ally – re­cently tat­tooed peo­ple will no longer have to wait six months be­fore giv­ing.

The Red Cross will now only lock out po­ten­tial blood donors for four months.

“Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a de­cline from around 1300 new donors an- nu­ally to around 900,” Ne­pean Donor Cen­tre’s Jemma Falken­mire said.

“It is cer­tainly not pe­cu­liar to western Syd­ney; we’re see­ing this across the coun­try, and even glob­ally.”

She blamed the fall on more peo­ple trav­el­ling to “malaria coun­tries”, be­ing time-poor and the pop­u­lar­ity of tat­toos.

“Time is, of course, the big­gest rea­son peo­ple give us when they say why they’re not do­nat­ing and a fear of nee­dles can pre­vent peo­ple from do­nat­ing for the first time,” she said.

“We are also see­ing peo­ple with a tat­too or who travel of­ten self-de­fer for life.”

Ms Falken­mire said many peo­ple with body art er­ro­neously be­lieved they could never do­nate, not re­al­is­ing they only had to wait due to any blood­borne dis­ease they may have con­tracted from ex­po­sure to the nee­dle and the ink.

“We’ve had im­prove­ments in our (blood) test­ing, which has meant we can re- duce our tat­too and pierc­ing de­fer­rals (to four months),” Ms Falken­mire said.

“Peo­ple with tat­toos are great donors be­cause they’re not afraid of nee­dles.”

She said the “very small pool of ded­i­cated donors, do­nat­ing at least 10 times a year” in the Pen­rith area was get­ting older and would soon have to stop do­nat­ing.

De­tails:do­nate­blood.com.au.

Peo­ple with tat­toos are great donors ... they’re not afraid of nee­dles Jemma Falken­mire

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