Backgrounder: Donor Testing - Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Key Facts

  • Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) is a highly sensitive method of testing blood that is used to detect Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) as well as Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and West Nile Virus (WNV) in blood.
  • Introduced in 2001 for HIV, NAT greatly reduces the length of time HIV can go undetected in a person infected with the virus. However, there is still a window period (approximately 9 day) period shortly after infection when an individual may transmit HIV but the virus is not detected by our tests.
  • In addition to testing every donation, we rely on our donors to be honest about their exposure risks when completing the donor eligibility screening criteria, which is part of a multi-tiered safety system designed to protect patients.