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HIV with undetectable platelet count
May 29, 2006

My brother has AIDS and told me that he wants to stop aids meds because his platelet count is undetectable and the doctor told him it was probably due to the medications--His CD4 count is 154, Viral load under 50. He looks and feels well, I don't think he should stop the medications but do think he needs to be admitted to the hospital for platelet transfusion and what do you think of AZT therapy?

Response from Dr. Daar

It would be unusual to have "undetectable" platelets, although they can be very low for a variety of reasons. It is difficult to assess this situation without more information as there are many reasons for people with and without HIV to have low platelet counts. If they are very low there can be significant risks for bleeding and this condition must be taken very seriously. It is vital to establish the cause of low platelets because this ultimately defines how it should be treated. While it is unusual for standard antiretroviral agents to cause this problem, other drugs to treat the complications of AIDS can be causative. Regardless, a full assessment needs to be performed, ideally with input from an HIV specialist and a hematologist.

Best to your brother. Eric


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