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Why is my platelet count low?

Q: I am a 40 years old man who underwent a pre surgery testing for arthroscopy on right shoulder for recurring dislocation. The test showed HIV 1 and 2 reactive. The platelets counts are low 10,000/µl. What can be the reason for low counts? Is it related to immune system? What treatment needs to be done and how can I increase platelet count and immunity?

A:HIV tests are used to detect the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus in serum, saliva, or urine. Such tests may detect HIV antibodies, antigens, or RNA. Generally, an algorithm combining two tests for HIV antibodies is used. If antibodies are detected by an initial test based on the ELISA method, then a second test using the Western blot procedure, determining the size of the antigens in the test kit binding to the antibodies, is used. The combination of these two methods is highly accurate. Coming to your problem, you seem to be positive for HIV 1 & 2 probably based on ELISA test. The first thing would be to confirm that there is no ambiguity and the test is indeed true positive. As mentioned above, this can be done by Western blot test. However, if it is already proven to be positive as well, then I am afraid that you are actually HIV positive.

While thrombocytopenia could be a part of HIV itself, the possibility of immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) cannot be ruled out. Having a platelet count of 10,000 or lower actually predisposes you to risk of spontaneous bleeding, and therefore, you should get in touch with a hematologist and immunologist for appropriate evaluation and treatment as early as possible.

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