How common is thrombocytopenia in HIV infection and which patients are at highest risk?

Updated: Mar 05, 2020
  • Author: Delia M Rivera, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Thrombocytopenia occurs in 40% of patients with HIV infection during the course of the disease. It is most common in people with advanced disease, those who use IV drugs, African Americans, and those with a history of anemia or lymphoma. The presence of thrombocytopenia suggests a shortened survival time.

Immune thrombocytopenia may occur in half of the cases and appears to be the result of molecular mimicry of the platelet glycoprotein (GP)-IIb/IIIa receptor by the HIV-GP 160/120 antigen. Decreased platelet production is common in HIV infection regardless of the platelet count, and it may be associated with the ultrastructural damage in HIV-infected megakaryocytes.

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