The Red Cross Gave Me HIV/AIDS

“Although you can no longer donate blood, the American Red Cross will continue to provide for the blood needs of you and our loved ones.”

You’d think that “but it’s probably a false positive” would be listed more explicitly on your Red Cross blood report informing you you’re HIV-positive.

It’s a customer service issue. “Although we’ve unnecessarily caused you to totally flip out and think your girlfriend is giving it away like leftover high school cupcakes, feel free to refer your friends and family to our fine services,” seems a bit mercenary…

The Red Cross gave me HIV/AIDS [Montecore the Tiger]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Montecore says:

    Thanks for the linkage. Hopefully someone at the Red Cross will read about the ordeal it’s putting people through and improve it’s relations with the potentially infected.

  2. Vulcan says:

    Full disclosure. I work for a Red Cross chapter.

    This post is two-and-a-half years old. Yes, a couple of the responses are new, but those are so far down that the “easily riled” will get steamed about situations and probelms that may have already been resolved. This blog owner is being responsive and responsible, updating with new information about his experience. (Yes, much of it is negative to Red Cross. Montecore’s still being responsible.) As you well know, commenters vent their frustrations and rarely come back to update about positive resolutions to their concerns.

    What concerns me the MOST about this entry is the misleading title. “The Red Cross Gave Me AIDS.”

    This is completely irresponsible. The number one fear that prevents people from donating blood is the paranoia that they might get a disease from the needles and equipment. For decades, the Red Cross (and our competing blood providers, I might add) has used sterile and disposable equipment for every single donation.

    You cannot contract AIDS or anything else from giving blood. Period.

    The title of this Consumerist entry gives not just a false impression, but one that is potentially disastrous. There are enough seasonal blood shortages already — please don’t compound them by propogating a false impression about risks of disease from donation.

    My heart goes out to all of those people who were needlessly scared or scarred. I only hope that those in blood services have taken these stories as caution, and have improved customer service and donor relations.

    I beg you to change your headline.


    PS – as to those asking for a phone notification instead of a letter, there is a great reason for that.

    The results of that kind of test are personal and confidential. If an unauthorized party opens a letter not addressed to them and learns of someone else’s medical condition, the notifying agency has no liability.

    If the Red Cross (or ANY AIDS outreach program for that matter) were to notify by phone, there would be no way at all to verify the identity of the answering party. We’d get sued, and in a major way. Even if we called and were told the party was unavailable, that would create enough of a question to “taint” that person’s privacy and reputation.

    What you ask for seems nicer, but is fraught with many drawbacks.

  3. Montecore says:

    I heart irony–a Red Cross employee criticizing someone else for irresponsible communication. I’ll make a deal with you, Vulcan: if your employer changes its notification policy, I’ll change my headline.

    Furthermore, scaring people away from the Red Cross might be a good thing–your company needs to feel the repercussions of how it treats its donors. There are people out there who erroneously think they have HIV/AIDS because of the Red Cross. There are other outlets to which people can donate blood.

  4. Bubba Barney says:

    ‘girlfriend is giving it away like leftover high school cupcakes’ – Oh, Consumerist! You and your clever analogies.