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Confused & desperate over a high white cell count
Jul 5, 2001

I was exposed to possible HIV infection six months ago and two months after my exposure I broke out in a rash that was diagnosed as tinea versicolor and I also had fatigue, pharyngitis, sore throat, sinusitis, lightheadedness, shortnesss of breath, and an ulcer on the uvula. The doctor also did some blood test, sed rate (1 normal) CBC, total white blood cells high (14.1) with the neutrophil also high (9419) and all other cells normal. After three weeks I am feeling better and returned to the doctor for a follow up visit and my total white blood cells are still high (13.9) and the neutrophil is normal but the lymphocyte is now high (5120) and the other white cells are normal. My doctor told me that there is nothing indicative of HIV and I should not worry and it is probably an infection, but I am really scared that this infection could be HIV, and I recently took the test somewhere else and I now await my results. I was just hoping you can shed some light on my situation and tell me if these results are normal for HIV infection. I really appreciate your opinion and value the information of your website..

Response from Dr. Dezube

There are two separate issues you raise--

The more straightforward one is about HIV. I am happy to hear that you were HIV tested since this is the only way to know if you have HIV. Knowledge is power.

The other question is about your high white count with originally the neutophil cells causing this high white count. I agree with your doctor that the high white count is most likely related to a recent infection. In time it should go back to normal. Often it can remain elevated for quite some time, particularly if you have something else going on. For examples, smokers who are constantly getting infections in their lung can run chronically high white counts, people with bad teeth who are constantly getting mouth infections can run chronically high white counts and so on. If the white count is persistantly high, month after month, or if it is high and gets progressively higher, then I would recommend that you get evaluated by a hematologist.

I wish you luck. Let me know how your HIV testing turns out. BD.


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