Blood testing for Safe MMA
As part of your fighter registration & medical clearance you will need to provide blood test results showing you are clear from the following infections, often called blood borne viruses (BBVs):
- HIV (*testing MUST include p24 antigen and HIV 1+2 antibodies)
- Hepatitis B (*negative Hep B Surface Antigen (HBsAg) test required)
- Hepatitis C
If you use a SafeMMA blood test pack (available to order through the online Order Form), SafeMMA will advise you of the result. As with any medical test, your results are confidential unless there are special circumstances.
If you are arranging your own blood test, a copy of the laboratory results must be accompanied by a doctor’s review/interpretation. This must be documented EITHER in your SafeMMA Annual Medical Examination form OR on a SafeMMA Blood Test Review form. There is NO need for this review to be completed on both forms!
Both of these forms are available to download here: Medical Forms
For further information on registration and medical clearance please go the following page: Fighter Registration and Medical Clearance
Why test people for BBVs?
Many people are unaware that they’re infected with a blood virus. If others are
exposed to their blood – or other bodily fluids – the infectious agent may be transferred into their bodies and infect them.
How do people get BBVs?
BBVs are transmitted through entry of blood or other body fluids containing virus into the
body of a susceptible person. The most common ways for this to happen are
- sharing injecting equipment
- skin puncture by blood-contaminated sharp objects (e.g. needles, instruments or glass)
- from mother to baby (i.e. the mother infects the child either before or during birth or through breast-feeding)
Less common means of transmission are:
- during sexual intercourse
- contamination of open wounds (e.g. blood injuries during sporting activities)
- contamination of skin lesions (e.g. eczema)
- splashing of the mucous membranes of the eye, nose or mouth
- human bites when blood is drawn
There is no evidence that BBV infections are transmitted by everyday social contact,
such as shaking hands with an infected person, sharing cooking utensils or via coughs
What is my risk?
We need to try to work out the risk of you having a BBV before we do the test. Your doctor may ask you answer some very personal questions.
The window period
Unfortunately, tests for BBV aren’t accurate immediately after infection. This is
because the test looks for antibodies to the viruses. It takes time for your body to
produce antibodies to the virus. Most people develop antibodies to blood borne
viruses within three months of infection. This time is called the window period.
A negative test is reassuring, but only means you did not have antibodies to a BBV
on the day you took the test. It does not mean you cannot get a BBV in the future.
if you have had a risk of transmission within the last 3 months your test could be
negative as your body may not yet have made antibodies to the virus. You may want to be retested in another 3 months.
Getting your results
Safe MMA will contact you to give you the results of your blood tests. This should be
approximately 1 week after having the sample taken. If it is more than 2 weeks after
having the sample taken and you have not been given results please contact Safe MMA.
What if I have a BBV?
The doctor taking your blood sample will discuss what they think the risk of you
having a BBV is. This estimation is based on the answers you provide in the
If the tests show that you have a BBV, Safe MMA will make sure you are referred
on to a specialist who can advise what treatment is best for you. There is no cure for
any of the BBVs we are testing for but all can be well managed. You will need to tell
any sexual partners if you test positive for a BBV because they will need to be tested
Is there a vaccine for BBVs?
There are no vaccines for Hepatitis C or HIV.
There is a vaccine available which is 95% effective at preventing Hepatitis B. This is
not part of the routine immunisation schedule in the UK.
Many recent reviews believe that athletes involved in contact or collision sports are
at increased risk of exposure to BBVs and should be vaccinated. The vaccination
requires 3 injections spaced over time. Your GP can organise this but there may be