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The HIV Test and HIV Testing - The Complete Blood Count (CBC)

What is a Complete Blood Count and How is it used Along with the HIV Test


Updated June 19, 2014

In addition to the HIV test, there are many HIV lab tests your doctor will order on a regular basis. One of the most important is a complete blood count (CBC). While there are many different types of cells in your blood, they can all be grouped into one of three categories: red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. From a complete blood count, your doctor can determine if you have an infection and how well your body is making blood cells. Let's look at the types of cells measure as part of a complete blood count.
  • White Blood Cells (WBC)
    Also known as leukocytes. These are cells produced in the bone marrow and fight infection as part of the body's immune system. An elevated count usually indicates some type of infection. A low count may mean that a disease process such as HIV has affected the bone marrow's ability to produce white blood cells.
    Normal values: 5.0 - 10.0

    The Immune System & Immune Response

  • Red Blood Cells (RBC)
    Also known as erythrocytes. Responsible for delivering oxygen throughout the body. A low count (anemia) is often caused by some HIV medications and will result in fatigue.
    Normal values: 4.20 - 5.70

    Medication Fact Sheets

  • Platelets (PLT)
    Also called thrombocytes. These cells are produced by the bone marrow and are involved in the blood clotting process. A decreased number of these (thrombocytopenia) can be caused by certain HIV medications especially nucleoside analogues.
    Normal values: 140 - 390
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