Chemsex is a specific type of sexual activity where people take certain stimulant drugs to let them have sex for longer and with more people. Drugs associated with chemsex include methamphetamine, mephedrone and GHB.
You'll need to wait three months after having chemsex before you can give blood.
We really want you to be able to give blood. Have a look at the information below to find out if you might be eligible.
Currently, you must not donate if you fall into one of the following categories:
You have Covid-19
You have developed symptoms which may be Covid-19
When will I be eligible to donate?
If you have shown symptoms of Covid-19 you must not donate for at least seven days after final symptoms have ceased.
The only exception to this is if you have had a negative PCR test, in which case you can give as soon as your symptoms have ceased.
If you have not had symptoms but have had a positive test (PCR or LFT) you must not donate until 7 days after your last positive test
If you have had Covid-19 you must be fully recovered before giving blood. This means you must have returned to normal activities, have no ongoing Covid-19 symptoms (including tiredness) and are not undergoing tests or follow up. If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 after donating, please contact us on 0345 90 90 999.
I've had my Covid-19 vaccination/booster. Can I donate?
If you've had a Covid-19 vaccine (or booster vaccine) as part of the UK vaccination programme, you can book in to give blood 48hrs after your jab. You also have to be recovered from any reaction to the vaccine.
If you've had a vaccine as part of a clinical trial you might have to wait longer to donate. Please get in touch with us to find out.
If you’ve got a blood donation appointment booked before your vaccination appointment, you can still come to donate.
You must not donate if you think you need a test for HIV/AIDS, HTLV or Hepatitis.
You must not donate for at least three months after:
taking part in chemsex (Chemsex is a specific type of sexual activity where people take certain stimulant drugs to let them have sex for longer and with more people. Drugs associated with chemsex include methamphetamine, mephedrone and GHB) receiving money or drugs for sex
having sex with a partner who is, or you think may be:
HIV or HTLV positive
a Hepatitis B carrier
a Hepatitis C carrier
taking Pre or Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP and PrEP/Truvada®) to prevent HIV infection. Different rules may apply depending on the reason you took this so please ask. having sex with a partner who:
has ever received money or drugs for sex
has ever injected, or been injected with, drugs - even a long time ago or only once. This applies to any illicit injected drug, including body-building drugs, chemsex drugs and tanning agents.
If you answer 'yes' to any of these questions, you will not be eligible to give blood for up to three months.
You will also be asked whether over the last three months you have:
had sex with someone new, or resumed a previous or infrequent sexual relationship
had sex with more than one person
If you answer 'yes' to either (or both) questions, you will then be asked if you had anal sex with any of your sexual partners
If you have, you will not be able to donate for up to three months
If you have not had anal sex, you will be able to donate (subject to all other eligibility criteria)
You must not donate for at least 28 days after:
sex with someone who was diagnosed with Zika virus in the three months before sexual contact
You must never give blood if:
you are HIV positive or receiving treatment for HIV
you are HTLV positive
you are a Hepatitis B carrier
you are a Hepatitis C carrier
you have ever been treated for Syphilis
you have ever injected, or been injected with, drugs; even a long time ago or only once. This applies to any illicit injected drug, including body-building drugs, chemsex drugs and tanning agents.
you have ever had sex with someone who has previously had a viral haemorrhagic fever (eg Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, or Crimean-Congo fever)
If you would like to discuss any of the above, do not hesitate to get in touch on 0345 90 90 999 For more information, read:
If these issues affect you, please visit the Our Partners section of our site for contact details of organisations that may be able to help.
Travel outside the UK can affect blood donation. This is because some infections may be caught abroad, usually through mosquito, or other insect, bites.
If you have to self-isolate for 14 days after travel to Scotland from outside the UK, then you will not be able to donate until the 14 days have passed.
A number of general health restrictions do also apply, specifically regarding symptoms and self-isolation. Please visit the General Health criteria section for more information.
West Nile Virus (WNV)
You can give blood following travel to a WNV area (including North America and some parts of Europe). We decide when you come along if we need to do an extra test for WNV on your donation. So please make sure you tell us about any recent travel outside the UK, each time you give blood.
You can usually give blood 12 months after visiting a malarial area. If you want to donate sooner, we can take a blood sample to test for malaria after four months. If this test is clear, you can come back before 12 months. There are different rules if you have ever:
Lived in a malaria area for at least six months.
Had an unexplained illness which might have been malaria.
Get in touch with us for more information, on 0345 90 90 999.
Several viruses are spread by mosquitoes, including Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and Zika. As long as you have been well, you can give blood four weeks after travel to an affected area. If you have been ill during or shortly after your visit, we'll ask you to wait six months before giving blood.
South American Trypanosomiasis (Chagas Disease)
Chagas disease is found in some areas of South and Central America. People who are at risk of Chagas can give blood in Scotland provided we’ve done an extra test to check they haven’t been exposed to this condition
If you or your mother were born in South or Central America, or if you have ever lived in this region for more than four weeks, please contact us on 0345 90 90 999 for advice about whether you can give blood in Scotland.
Outbreaks and new infections
New infections can emerge at any time, so our rules can change at short notice. Please check back each time you're preparing to give blood.
Every time you come to give blood we will ask you: whether you were born abroad; whether you have lived or worked abroad for more than six months; and whether you have had any illnesses during or after travel abroad.
It is very important you tell us about your recent travel, if you were ill while abroad, or shortly after you came back. Different rules may apply if you have lived in one of these countries for more than six months. Please get in touch before coming along to give blood.
You should also check our additional eligibility criteria before giving blood. Talk to one of our advisers before coming along to give blood, on 0345 90 90 999.
Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Australia (except north of Alice Springs)
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Cocos (Keeling Islands)
French Southern and Antarctic Lands
Greece and the Greek Islands
Heard and McDonald Islands
Isle of Man
Palestine Occupied Territories
Portugal (except Madeira)
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
United Arab Emirates
You must wait at least 12 weeks between donations. If you’re not sure how long it's been since you last gave blood, call us during working hours on 0345 90 90 999, or fill in our online enquiry form and someone will get back to you.
Providing you're fit and well, you may be able to give blood while taking regular medication. However, there are some exceptions:
Please wait two weeks from recovery and at least seven days after completing a course of antibiotics before giving blood.
If you are taking antibiotics for your skin, you may still be able to give blood.
You can give blood provided you are feeling well and have had no adverse side effects to the vaccination.
High blood pressure medication
You can give blood while taking high blood pressure medication.
If your blood pressure medication changes, you'll have to wait at least four weeks before giving blood.
You can give blood provided you are symptom free on the day.
You can give blood while using oral or other contraceptive measures.
You can usually give blood after taking painkillers.
Please make sure you tell us about them, as they may affect how we use your donation.
You are unable to give blood if you have been advised to take iron supplements by your doctor or nurse.
You will be unable to give blood while taking the following medications, and for a variable length of time afterwards:
Finasteride (Proscar®, Propecia®)
Dutasteride (Avodart®, Acitretin®, Neotigason®)
Valproate (Epilim®, Epival®, Episenta®, Convulex® or Depakote®)
Anti-thyroid drugs (e.g. Carbimazole)
Drugs which suppress the immune system (e.g. Prednisolone, Methotrexate)
Pre and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP and PrEP /Truvada®) for HIV prevention (see sexual relations for more information)
If you have received, or think you may have received, a blood transfusion since 1st January 1980, you will not be able to give blood. This measure was introduced in 2004 by the UK Blood Transfusion Services.
This is just one of a range of measures designed to minimise the risk of passing variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD) through the population.
The chance of any individual contracting vCJD from a blood transfusion is already very small. Experts hope that these additional safety measures will help eradicate vCJD from the UK population.
You can still give blood if you received a blood transfusion in the UK before 1980.
If you received blood in another country before 1980 please contact us for advice.
You may be eligible if your own blood was given back to you (autologous transfusion).
If you would like to discuss any of the above, get in touch on 0345 90 90 999
You can become a blood donor as soon as you reach your 17th birthday.
If you're a new donor, you can start giving blood anytime up to your 66th birthday.
If you have given blood before, even if it was some time ago, you can give blood up until your 70th birthday.
If you're over 70 and in good health, you can continue to give blood provided you have made a full donation in the last two years.
To give blood, you need to weigh over 7st 12lb (50 kg). If you're a girl aged 17-19, additional height and weight criteria apply. Have a look at the height and weight chart to find out if you can give blood at this time.
These guidelines are in place to stop you feeling faint or unwell after giving blood.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR GIRLS AGED 17-19
What has changed?
New donation guidelines have been introduced for female blood donors under 20 years of age, taking account of both height and weight.
If you're under 20 years old and over 5’ 6” (168cm) in height, or if you are under 20 years old and over 10st 3lb (65kg) in weight, the changes do not apply to you and you can give blood.
If, however, you are a female under 20 years of age, and you are either under 5’ 6” (168cm) in height or under 10st 3lb (65kg) in weight, your height and weight will need to be taken into consideration.
Those who DO NOT meet the new guidelines will be unable to give blood for the time being. Once you have reached your 20th birthday, or if your weight increases to meet our criteria before your 20th birthday, please come back to give blood.
Why is this changing?
New donation research and medical evidence has shown that, based on height and weight, young female donors of smaller build (as indicated in the chart) are at an increased risk of fainting following blood donation.
Complementary and beauty therapies
Complementary therapies which use needles or break the skin (including acupuncture)
You can give blood as long as:
1. the reason you had treatment doesn't stop you giving blood, and
2. your treatment was performed by an NHS professional or a qualified healthcare professional
If you were treated by someone who was not a registered health care professional, you'll have to wait four months before giving blood. Registered healthcare professionals include doctors, dentists, registered nurses, physiotherapists and others. Contact us if you're not sure.
Body building drugs and tanning injections
You must never give blood if you have ever injected (or been injected with) illegal or non-prescribed drugs, including body building drugs or tanning injections.
Platelet rich plasma facials ("Vampire" facials)
You have to wait four months after a platelet rich plasma facial to give blood.
Colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy
You have to wait four months after colonic irrigation or hydrotherapy before giving blood.
Herbal and homeopathic medicines / nutritional supplements
You can usually give blood while taking these, provided you don’t have a medical condition that stops you.
Some long term health problems and serious illnesses mean we can’t accept you as a donor.
Conditions that stop you giving blood include:
Inflammatory bowel disease
Chronic lung disease (except asthma)
Some neurological diseases and disorders, including chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis
Please get in touch so we can let you know if you are able to give blood.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol
You can give blood while being treated for high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels.
If your blood pressure medication changes you have to wait at least four weeks before giving blood.
You can give blood if you have diabetes but do not need insulin treatment.
Complications caused by diabetes may mean you will be unable to give blood.
Please make sure you tell your diabetic team if you give blood. This is because blood donation may affect the tests used to monitor diabetic control (HbA1c levels). If possible, it's best to avoid giving blood in the two months before a routine diabetic review, so your HbA1c levels have not been affected by donation.
Genetic haemochromatosis is a condition where someone may need to be treated by having blood taken ('venesection') to prevent their body from storing too much iron. Patients with genetic haemochromatosis can become blood donors as long as their iron levels are at an acceptable level. They must also meet the same blood donation rules as any other donor.
If you have genetic haemochromatosis and would like to give blood, the first thing to do is talk to your doctor or the hospital clinic that looks after you. If they think you would be suitable, they can refer you to the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service as a potential donor. Our clinical staff will look at this referral and decide whether you meet our guidelines for people with genetic haemochromatosis. We will get in touch with you and your clinic to let you know the outcome.
If you have been diagnosed with genetic haemochromatosis through family screening but don’t need venesection, you may be able to donate straight away. Please get in touch with us to find out more.