Although viral titres fall in the circulation at this time there is significant and persistent virus replication within lymph nodes and spleen. The clini-414 cally latent period may last 8-10 years and circulating CD4 T-cell count remains normal for most of this period. However, there is a delayed, gradual but progressive fall in CD4 T lymphocytes in most patients, who may remain asymptomatic for a prolonged period despite modest lym-phopenia. A number of minor skin problems such as seborrhoeic dermatitis are characteristic of the end of the latent phase.
A patient with latent HIV infection may have isolated thrombocytopenia on routine blood testing. This is due to an immune mechanism and may be confused with ITP as there is frequently 4 platelet associated immunoglobulin.
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