Increased haemoglobin A2 percentage in HIV infection: disease or treatment?

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An elevated haemoglobin A2 percentage has been reported in HIV-infected patients, possibly attributable to therapy. In cross-sectional and cohort studies we have established that A2 is often elevated in untreated patients; a further rise during treatment is attributable specifically to zidovudine. The haemoglobin A2 may be high enough to lead to a misdiagnosis of beta thalassemia trait if there is a lack of awareness of this unexpected effect of HIV infection and its treatment.

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