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Jan 20, 2000

doctor, there is a link here that takes you to a sample cbc for an hiv infected male. my question is this, why does it show a normal wbc count ? i thought the first thing to go down in hiv infected individuals wwere the white blood cells. could you explain please ? thanks. pb

Response from Mr. Molaghan

Hello Good question. The normal white blood count is between 4.0 and 10.5 (approximately). The total number of white blood cells is comprised of many different “family members”, called neutrophils monocytes, lymphocytes, etc. The lymphocytes are further subdivided. HIV infects the CD4+ lymphocytes, which are vital to the immune system. . You may not see abnormally low “total white blood” counts in a person with HIV for many years, until the CD4+ (t-cells) are significantly depleted. The white blood count decreases as disease progresses. Some infections and drugs can also lower the white blood count. Monitoring the CBC in patients at risk for HIV is important, because in an undiagnosed person, low white blood count can be a red flag for HIV infection…but not all persons with HIV have an abnormal white blood count.

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