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Anemia

for Veterans and the Public

Anemia

Anemia means you have a low red blood cell count. The red blood cells take oxygen to different parts of the body, and when your body is short of oxygen, you feel tired.

Many people with HIV have anemia at some point. HIV can cause it; so can some of the anti-HIV drugs.

To see if you have anemia (a symptom of anemia is feeling tired, fatigued, or short of breath), your VA health care provider can do a simple blood test. If you are anemic, food or other medicines can help.

Quick Tips: Anemia

  • First, find out if you have anemia. If you are short of breath or tired and the tiredness doesn't go away after getting rest, ask your doctor whether you should get tested for anemia.
  • If you find out you have anemia, your doctor will prescribe a treatment according to the cause of the anemia. Some of these treatments may include:
    • changing medications
    • taking iron, folate, or vitamin B12
    • changing your diet