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What is the importance of CD4 count in an HIV positive patient?

Answered by: Dr LM Nath

Consultant, Community Medicine,New Delhi

Q. My friend is HIV positive and I want to know the maximum value of CD4 count in people suffering from HIV infection. Can intake of homeopathic medicines increase CD4 count?

A.  The maximum value of CD4 cell count is not an important value for managing HIV infection. Persons who are not infected with HIV can have a CD4 count of between 500 and 1200 cells per cubic mm. What we need to know is the actual level at the time of the test. If the value falls below 200, anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy should be started. The CD4 count needs regular monitoring and the question of drug resistance and change of anti-retroviral drugs is to be considered if the recovered CD4 count again starts to fall. Some drugs from the Ayurvedic and Homeopathic systems have been claimed to raise the general resistance and improve immunity. These may demonstrate an increase in CD4 cell counts.

A.  The maximum value of CD4 cell count is not an important value for managing HIV infection. Persons who are not infected with HIV can have a CD4 count of between 500 and 1200 cells per cubic mm. What we need to know is the actual level at the time of the test. If the value falls below 200, anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy should be started. The CD4 count needs regular monitoring and the question of drug resistance and change of anti-retroviral drugs is to be considered if the recovered CD4 count again starts to fall. Some drugs from the Ayurvedic and Homeopathic systems have been claimed to raise the general resistance and improve immunity. These may demonstrate an increase in CD4 cell counts.

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