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Low white blood cell count

Mar 3, 1997

Does a white blood cell count of 3500 indicate the possibility of hiv infection?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Total white blood cell counts CANNOT be used to indicate possible HIV infection. A person can have a white blood cell count in any range (low, normal or high), and still have HIV. Only a test specific for HIV can indicate whether a person is infected or not. There are many different illnesses that can affect a white blood cell count (both abnormally high or abnormally low). Because of this, a white blood cell count alone cannot indicate HIV infection (or other illnesses for that matter). White blood cell counts must be used along with other laboratory tests, a physical examination, and a persons medical and risk history, in order for a physician to determine what may be causing an abnormal white blood cell count. This test cannot be used to indicate HIV infection. Only a test specific for HIV can be used to determine if a person may have HIV.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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