Thorpe et al describe a global systematic review of lay perceptions of the health-impacts of blood donation in both donors and non-donors. The review includes 247 studies from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa, providing a truly diverse geographical perspective. Key findings are a disproportionate emphasis on specific negative beliefs and a lack of research on positive health-related beliefs among whole-blood donors. Platelet and plasma donors are poorly investigated in these respects. Long-term donor health impacts such as immune consequences remain largely unknown. Critically, the authors highlight that discordant beliefs exist across different socio-cultural contexts. Understanding cross-cultural health-related beliefs is essential for blood collection agencies in Western countries to assist in their efforts to enhance ethnic diversity among their donor panels and to meet the transfusion needs of haemoglobinopathy patients. Protecting and optimising donor health is fundamental to fulfilling the dynamic needs of transfusion recipients worldwide.
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