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Strange Labs
May 1, 2001

Dr.Cohen, I'm a huge fan of the way you answer questions with both insight AND humor so i'm hoping you'll take just a minute with mine, oh, let me apologize in advance, its not really a treatment question, but i'd love even just a brief answer, please. Background, April 21, 1996, left temporal skull fracture, 3 epidural hematomas, 6 months after i got a hold of bloodwork pre op and was STUNNED. Neutrophil 90.10, Lymph Low end, I called the neuro and basically got insulted for asking, Was told the surgery was not life threatning, could have waited an hour or two to run my tests but felt no need. Question is, can i feel comfortable with that answer? Only real "high risk" exposure took place in 86, any insight here would help!

Response from Dr. Cohen

Well, if I get your question - you're wondering if the high neutrophil count and lower lymph count suggested you are HIV infected?

And I am assuming that if this is your worry - you may ore may not have had some HIV testing done. Your worry is about a lower lymph count on one result in one lab in a time with enormous physical stress from a skull fracture... and I don't know if you have had these counts repeated but if so it is quite likely they are closer to normal, including a higher lymph count. But the dismissive way you were treated by a neurologist and/or surgeon has left you worried for now about five years.

So as this just about the five year anniversary of your worry - you can perhaps celebrate by putting it to rest. These counts don't answer the question if anything was wrong. They can and do fluctuate normally - an increase in the neutrophil count and a lower lymph count are normal bodily reactions to something that appears to have been happening to you at that time. And odds are good they have since returned to more usual levels.

And these changes are very very indirect indications of your immune system. If your worry is HIV - then find out. These results don't help you find out. They only give you something to worry about for five years. And delaying HIV testing just won't allow you to move on to the next chapter without this lingering concern that something may be wrong and I just don't know may be it was why didn't they tell me what it was maybe they were too worried about it or didn't know what to do... and so you are stuck. Get in touch with someone who does HIV testing - and get the answer you want.

Unless I have misread your question....



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