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Blood work done. Having fluctuating lymphocyte count. Are there any risks of having HIV?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 77 Questions
Hello, my name is XXXXXXX Is it unusual for a persons lymphocyte count to fluctuate in a few years? I had a level of 29 a couple years ago and today it was 22. Is that too low? All of my other blood work levels were in normal range. I am a female, 29 years old, 5' 7" and weigh 120. I have had two cone biopsies and an appendectomy but those surgeries were in 2006 and 2010. My concern is mostly about the lymphocyte level and that it lowered within the last couple of years. When I research things online about decreased lymphocyte levels it mentions things like hiv which scared me. Is 22 still a normal level? It appears that a 15 or above is normal but I'm not a doctor. And is dropping from a 29 to a 22 in a couple of years concerning or can the numbers change over time? One more thing... my absolute lymphocyte level was 1.1 today. Thank you for your help!
Posted Sat, 1 Sep 2012 in X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
Answered by Dr. Rajat Gupta 2 hours later

Thanks for the query.

You are right when you say the lymphocyte count (differential) above 15 is normal. So your reports are absolutely normal and you need not worry.

The drop in your levels is not much and infact is not significant even. Such difference can be reported by getting investigations done in two different labs or even in same lab at different time.

What I want to know is - are having any other symptoms for any disease?
Do you suffer from frequent episodes of fever, upper respiratory infection, etc?

Awaiting your reply

Dr. Rajat Gupta
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Blood work done. Having fluctuating lymphocyte count. Are there any risks of having HIV? 17 hours later
Thank you Dr. XXXXXXX for your response! That makes me feel better about the levels. I don't really have any symptoms other than some pain i was having under my right rib cage. No fevers, no night sweats, no sore throat or respiratory infections. I work out and in recent months i have been working out more often and for longer periods of time. I have actually experienced some weight loss (5-8 lbs) even though I am not trying to lose weight. Can that be due to the exercise? It has been a few years since I was tested for hiv so I think that has been weighing on my mind lately. I have definitely had some anxiety just from thinking about it. That is why I wanted to ask you about my lymphocyte levels. Would general blood work indicate any problems such as hiv even without being tested directly for the disease? I appreciate any help or advice you can offer.
Answered by Dr. Rajat Gupta 15 hours later
I am sorry for writing back late.
IT is difficult to tell on a hemogram whether a person is HIV infected or not until a person has the full blown disease or AIDS.
I think an ELISA for HIV-1 and HIV-2 will help allay your anxiety. The exercise could be contributing to the weight loss. It could also be due to changed dietary habits or other reasons.
Hope that helps
All the best for your tests.
Do let me know.

Take care.
Dr. Rajat Gupta
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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