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Anemia and esr
Mar 5, 2002

Hello, I have just a quick question for you about HIV. I recently went for a CBC and ESR after a possible exposure 6.5 years ago and my esr was 4 (I am a female) which my doctor said was extremely low. My doctor told me not to worry about hiv because my esr would be higher and I would be anemic by now. Is this true?

Response from Dr. Frascino


Well, not exactly. I don't know what type of "possible exposure" you had 6.5 years ago, but since it was only a "possible" exposure, I'm guessing your risk was probably fairly low. ESRs are a nonspecific test for inflammation and cannot be used to suggest, or reassure against, HIV. Anemia, although fairly common in HIV disease, certainly is not universal at 6.5 years. Anemia, likewise, cannot be used to rule in or rule out HIV disease. The only thing that can do that is an HIV test.

Check in with our Safe Sex/HIV Prevention expert forum. If your risk 6.5 years ago was significant and you are concerned, get an HIV test. My guess is it will be negative. Stay well, and don't get mad at your doctor. I'm sure he/she was just trying to reassure you that your risk was so low that you may not even need testing.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

Peg-Intron and Procrit
I'm scared and at the end of my rope...

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