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book research
Sep 30, 2003

why do some people with hiv develop anemia

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Multiple factors, both disease-related and treatment-related, can cause anemia in the setting of HIV disease.

1. HIV itself. This is called "anemia of chronic disease." It is caused by ongoing inflammation and results in suppression of the bone marrow, which is where red blood cells are manufactured. 2. Certain infections. For example, MAC (mycobacterium avium), TB, fungal infections, CMV (cytomegalovirus), parvovirus B-19. 3. Medications used to treat HIV and/or its complications. These include AZT, Bactrim, ganciclovir, dapsone, pyrimethamine, interferon, and cancer chemotherapy. AZT is by far the most common. 4. Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 or folic acid. 5. Blood loss (ulcer, polyps, hemorrhoids, menstrual irregularities, etc.) 6. Cancer (lymphoma, etc.) 7. Kidney disease. 8. Hereditary conditions (sickle cell, thalassemia, and hemolytic anemia).

And the list goes on and on. Some of these conditions are HIV-specific and others are not, but they too can still occur in HIV-positive folks.

Hope that helps with your book research.

Dr. Bob


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