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Anemia and HIV

Jun 1, 2009

Hi Dr. And thanks for your great Job especially on this site. My husband is HIV+ and I have tested recently HIV-, but I am still worried and have had two flu symptoms over a month, I am very tired sometime during the day, L have lost some of my hair. On my last test after 13 weeks of our last sex relation I tested with Elisa 4th gen and then I took a PCR DNA and both came out negative, but I am still worried as I have been diagnosed with Normochromic Anemia. Is this a sign that something is going on in my body? I do not feel normal like before (I am 35y old). Could the Anemia cause any false negative test? And what should I do? Please help a worried woman. Thanks a million for you valuable response.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I'm sorry to learn about your husband's HIV diagnosis.

Your negative ELISA and undetectable PCR DNA at 13 weeks are extremely encouraging. You will still need an additional HIV-antibody test at the six-month mark per the CDC testing guidelines, as you have had significant exposure to someone confirmed to be HIV positive.

Anemia does not affect HIV test results. Normochromic anemia can be associated with a number of underlying conditions, including early iron deficiency. Your doctor can run additional tests to further delineate the cause. I do not believe your anemia is HIV related.

As for not feeling "normal," there are several possibilities. Anemia, depending on the severity, can be associated with a host of symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, etc. Also, the stress of learning about your husband's HIV diagnosis and having to endure the uncertainty of the window period waiting for your own test results can cause anxiety or depression. These psychological ailments are also associated with a wide array of symptoms. Talk to your doctor. He should be able to evaluate and treat any symptoms you may be experiencing. He can also provide you with reassurance, as needed.

Good luck to both you and your husband.

Dr. Bob

untreated for 7 years
pregnant positive/indeterminate test results

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