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low red blood cell count
Jun 3, 2004

I recently had an hiv test done 7 months after exposure and they also did a complete blood test. My hiv test was negative but my red blood cell count was low. I have read that this could be a sign of hiv. Would you suggest I retest or would 7 month negative be conclusive regardless of the red blood cell count being low.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

A negative HIV test seven months after a possible exposure means you are HIV negative. A low red blood cell count means you are anemic. Even though some people with HIV/AIDS are anemic, these are two very distinct conditions. The vast majority of people with anemia are not HIV positive.

Your next step should be to visit with your doctor to find out why you are anemic. There are many common causes, ranging from blood loss (from bleeding ulcers, hemorrhoids, or abnormally heavy menstruation, for example) to nutritional deficiencies (iron, vitamin B12, folate). Once the case of your anemia has been determined, a specific treatment can be prescribed.

The important thing for you to realize is that your low red blood cell count has nothing to do with HIV/AIDS, because your HIV test is definitively negative.

I hope that calms any fears and clears up any confusion.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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