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Red Blood Cell Count

Jul 20, 2003

I'm a 40 year old male that tested Pos 12/31/02 (I've never done drugs and don't drink or smoke). Tests showed my CD4 at 285 and VL at 21,400 on 1/9/03. After starting meds on 1/16/03 (Combivir twice a day and Sustiva 600mg at night; I've never missed a dose.) My VL is know undetectable and CD4 is at 374 (date 3/24/03). My last set of tests are all in normal ranges except for my Red Blood Cell count...looking at history from 12/31/02 RBC was 5.53; 1/9/03 RBC was 5.69; 2/4/03 RBC was 5.21 (Was on the meds then)and 5/29/03 RBC was at 3.81 (Below normal...normal range 4.20-5.80) and WBC is 3.9 (Normal range 3.8-10.8).

Why is my RBC dropping like that when everything else is at normal levels? Is it the meds? Is this something to be concerned about? How far can the RBC drop before it becomes a problem? What exactly do the Red blood cells do?

I also want to thank you and your Colleagues for taking the time out of your days/nights to answer our questions.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The drop in redblood cells may be related to the AZT in combivir. It could also be from any added medications you might be receiving. RBC are required for life in that they carry the oxygen you breath in and distribute it to all your tissues.

CDC Hotline has officially changed their window period to 3 months -- please post.
morphologic diagnoses/electron microscope

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