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Low blood platlets indicator of AIDS?

Oct 16, 1996

I was told by a lab person that HIV positive people tend to have low blood platlet counts. My platlets have been falling for the past three years. Should I get tested for HIV. G>P

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

It is true that some persons with HIV can have low platelet counts. The condition related to this is called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). The cause is unknown. Persons who do NOT have HIV can also get ITP. However it is important to note that persons with HIV have a greater liklihood of getting ITP, for reasons that are still not known.

If you have a low platelet count, you may want to consider getting tested for HIV, especially if you have put yourself at risk of infection in the past. But having a low platelet count alone does not indicate a person may have HIV infection. There are various medical conditions unrelated to HIV that can lead to low platelet counts. But if this issue concerns you, you may want to consider getting tested for HIV, especially if you have put yourself at risk in the past. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS


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