Haematological aspects

Most often the blood picture will reveal a anaemia, thrombocytopaenia, neutropaenia and a lymphopaenia. Thrombocytopaenia may be immune based or secondary to bone marrow dysfunction. Bone marrow examination may also be valuable for the diagnosis of some opportunistic infections: for example tuberculosis, atypical mycobacterial infections, Cryptococcus, Leishmaniasis and histoplasmosis.

The drugs available in the treatment of HIV, especially azidothymidine (AZT), but also ganciclovir, pentamidine and trimethoprim, may also cause cytopaenias, especially in the presence of folate deficiency. Thrombocytopaenia may respond to steroid therapy or antiretroviral therapy.

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