HIV vs. leukemia

Question

Dr. Dezube, this may seem like a rather dumb question, in light of that i'll ask anyway. Is there ANY way a doctor could misdiagnose HIV for Leukemia or are they just 2 different animals?

Answer

They are really two different animals. A misdiagnosis would be most unusual. However, occasionally both of the diseases can cause funny looking cells in the blood system. It's not all that unusual for a care provider to call me up on one of his(her) patients to tell me that there are abnormal blood cells on the smear. Usually it's easy to differentiate between the two; on occasion (typically rare occasion) further blood tests are necessary.