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Removal of Spleen
Jun 27, 2004

In 1991 while living in Austin, TX, I knew two men. One had full blown aids, the other was hiv positive for a few years. The person with aids was in a car accident, and the person with hiv fell on some steps. both had ruptured spleens that were removed. within a year, both were very healthy and hiv negative. I find it a coincidence, since these two friends of mine didn't know each other. How can this be???? Can someone live without a spleen? and what is the purpose of a spleen and how does it react to hiv? Just curious.Thank you.

Response from Dr. Pierone

It is simply not true. Knowing two people that have had their spleen removed is very possible, but removing the spleen does not translate into a switch to HIV negative status. The spleen is an organ involved in trafficking of immune cells and contributes to normal immune function. It has a prodigious blood supply and if ruptured, can bleed like a stuck spleen, so must on occasion be removed for trauma. Interestingly, people that have had to have their spleen removed are more likely to get overwhelming infection with encapsulated bacteria and some blood borne parasites.

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