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More on Blood Test
Dec 2, 1998

Recently you answered a question on routine blood tests. You said that a CBC is done which will reveal the types and amounts. Does this include a WBC and RBC? Will a person infected with HIV generally show something abnormal on these tests? If no, why is the WBC not abnormal if HIV infects white blood cells? Can an HIV infected person have completely normal routine blood work? If so please explain. Thank-you!

Response from Mr. Molaghan

Hello again, A complete blood count (CBC) does include a white blood count (WBC) and a red blood count (RBC). A person infected will eventually show some abnormally low values of the RBC and WBC, but may not notice any changes for many years. HIV does indeed infect white blood cells, and it can also infect the bone marrow where blood cells are produced. A person with HIV disease can have normal routine blood work, but as the infection progresses through the years, we usually see decreases in the RBC, WBC and platelet count. The time period that these changes occur may vary, depending upon the overall health of the patient, and the presence of absence of any other viral or bacterial infections.

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