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Fasting before testing

Jan 6, 2007

Dear Doctor,

Some insurance companies in S. Africa require a fasting of 10 to 12 hours before a person takes an HIV test. Furthermore, in case of the same sample for more than one test besides HIV they require the HIV test to be done first(priority). My question is, how fasting or not fasting may affect the HIV result - I mean, when you do not fast there will be more anti-bodies detectable or it is the other way around I ask you. It sounds silly but I have never heard any study regarding this issue. Finally I ask you - what during the HIV acute infection which is more likely to occur----AN increase or decrease in the total white blood count. I have read conflicting information regardingthis issue. I have asked you other questions before. NEVER GOT AN ANSWER. PLEASE DO IT NOW. THANK YOU DEARLY. DR JOSE XXXXX MD (BRAZIL)

Response from Dr. Frascino


There is absolutely no reason for fasting prior to an HIV test. Fasting or not fasting will not affect the results. Regarding your second question, total white blood cell counts are really not all that helpful during acute infection. You may (although not always) see a decrease in total lymphocyte count, which is due primarily to a decrease in the CD4+ subset.

Regarding responding to questions, I receive thousands of questions on an ongoing basis and can respond to only a small fraction of them. If you are an MD, you could access this basic information through many avenues medical journals, medical text books, continuing education courses, etc.

Dr. Bob

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