Women, Anemia and HIV/AIDS
Table of Contents
Anemia is a medical condition that occurs when you have a lower than normal amount of red blood cells (RBCs) in your body. It can also happen if your hemoglobin (HGB) level is below normal. HGB is a protein that uses iron to carry oxygen. It is found in RBCs and gives blood its red color. HGB carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Oxygen is necessary for the body to make energy and carry out all its functions. If you have anemia, your body does not carry enough oxygen in your blood.
Anemia can be mild, moderate, or severe. It can also be temporary or a longer-lasting problem. With severe or long-lasting anemia, the lack of oxygen in the blood can damage the heart, brain, and other organs of the body. Very severe anemia can even cause death. The good news is, anemia can be identified and treated.
At first, anemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. Symptoms usually appear and get worse as the anemia gets worse. Symptoms can include:
There are many possible causes of anemia, including:
Anemia has been a long-standing problem for people living with HIV (HIV+). Although serious anemia has become less common since people started using a combination of HIV drugs, anemia continues to affect up to three out of ten HIV+ people, and eight out of ten people living with AIDS. Factors that are linked to a greater likelihood of anemia in HIV+ people include:
Anemia is a common condition for HIV+ women, and it is often overlooked. If left untreated, anemia is strongly associated with HIV disease progression and an increased risk of death.
This article was provided by The Well Project. Visit The Well Project's Web site to learn more about their resources and initiatives for women living with HIV. The Well Project shares its content with TheBody.com to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from TheBody.com or the advertisers on this site. No advertiser on this site has any editorial input into The Well Project's content.
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