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HIV and no immune system
Jun 7, 2004

Hi Dr., I recently tested negative for HIV but am wondering about the accuracy of the blood test. I had my spleen removed in 1998 and have no immune system. Will HIV antibodies show up in my blood work or is there another test I should have?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Having "no spleen" and "no immune system" are two completely different things! True, the spleen is indeed part of the body's very complex "immune system," but certainly not all of it. Even with your spleen removed, you will be able to make antibodies and the results of HIV testing will be accurate.

Talk to your doctor about the consequences of your splenectomy (spleen removal). There are some precautions you should take for instance, getting a pneumococcal vaccine to help prevent a specific type of bacterial infection. He should explain in detail that your immune system, although now missing one component, is certainly not gone!

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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