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All women infected with HIV should have their haemoglobin A2 (HbA2) concentrations recorded before they start antiretroviral drug treatment to avoid later suspicion antenatally of heterozygous β thalassaemia trait and unnecessary genetic counselling and analysis, say some UK doctors. In their experience HbA2 concentration can be raised solely by the treatment.
This is likely to become more of a problem now that universal antenatal screening for blood disorders is to be introduced to areas of the UK where β thalassaemia is prevalent and because more and more fertile women are being treated with antiretroviral drugs for HIV infection. A benchmark HbA2 value will allow doctors to judge whether to exclude heterozygous β thalassaemia. …