Anemia and thrombocytopenia in people living with HIV/AIDS: A narrative literature review


Hematologic changes are frequent complications in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Anemia and thrombocytopenia are the most frequent multifactorial hematologic abnormalities and are associated with a low quality of life and high death rates. This study aims to describe the prevalence of anemia and thrombocytopenia in PLWHA and to identify the main clinical characteristics that aggravate these conditions in studies published in the last 10 y. A comprehensive search was performed on the PUBMED database, using the terms ‘HIV infection and anemia’ and ‘HIV infection and thrombocytopenia’. Additional searches were made in the reference lists of articles covering the theme. The selected studies reported an overall prevalence of anemia from 7.2% to 84% and of thrombocytopenia from 4.5% to 26.2%. The prevalence of thrombocytopenia and anemia were aggravated by a CD4+ T lymphocyte count of <200 cells/μL, increased viral load and coinfections or opportunistic infections. Antiviral therapy (ART) shows a beneficial effect, reducing the frequencies of thrombocytopenia and anemia, except in a zidovudine-based ART regimen, which worsens the anemic condition. Because anemia and thrombocytopenia are treatable comorbidities associated with increased mortality among PLWHA, physicians should monitor these risk factors in order to establish better interventions and reduce morbidity and mortality in PLWHA.


Marchionatti A, Parisi MM




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-morbidities
    • Other


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