Blood banks ensure the safety of blood components by testing them for a set of known infectious agents and by careful selection of donors based on a self-administered questionnaire and an interview. The purpose of this study is to describe the risk behavior for sexually transmitted diseases in Norwegian blood donors.
A survey of the sexual habits of 5,859 blood donors in the capital of Norway was performed by using anonymous questionnaires. The results were compared with a previous survey of 10,000 randomly selected Norwegian subjects aged 18 to 60 years. The response rates were 70.3 percent and 48.4 percent, respectively.
Blood donors had considerably more education than the general population. Their general sexual behavior was similar to that of the rest of the population, although the blood donors had later sexual debut, fewer new partners per year, and a lower frequency of intercourse. In addition, homosexual experience among males was much lower in the donor group. Blood donors were less likely to engage in risk behavior for sexually transmitted diseases than were the general population. Nevertheless, 1.5 percent of the donors reported behavior that would have led to deferral had the behavior been disclosed at the predonation interview. Deferrable donors were more likely to be male and young and to have had many partners.
Anonymous questionnaires reveal information that is not given at the time of blood donation.