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Still Confused about blood count interpretation
Jun 25, 2001

Dear Doctor,

In your last response, you bascially said that the Lymphocytes during ARS usually decrease, and this decrease can me mild or within the lower normal limits or quite abnormal. My question, if one of your other types of blood cells increased, causing another type of blood cell to decrease, which one do you look at to determine a diagnosis. For example, if the Neutrophill count is high and the Lymphocyte count is low, which type of blood cell actually presents the problem?

Second question. If your CBC reads that you have higher than normal neutrophills for two weeks, and then after taking another blood test they have returned to normal but the lymphocytes are now high, what does this mean? and does this have any significance in HIV disease?

Response from Dr. Feinberg

The primary and most important predictor of complications from HIV is the lymphocyte count, specifically the T helper (CD4, T4) lymphocyte count. So that is what doctors focus on. Very low neutrophil counts present a danger of bacterial infection to anyone, whether HIV+ or -. Please understand that interpreting a complete blood count is complex, and therefore that are not just a few simple guidelines that can make laypersons adept at this.

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