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Can the CD4 count increase if I am HIV positive?

Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Answered by: Dr. Shirish Kumar
Consultant Haematologist,
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital,
New Delhi
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Q. I am a 35 years old HIV positive man and my CD4 count was 350 few months back. Then it increased to 510 within 3 months. Is there any way of the CD4 increasing to 510 with in 3 months? Again after another three months it was 540. I took a herbal medicine when the CD4 count was at 350 and it was only for the first 3 months. But the doctors could not believe this and they are saying that this could be due to a diet change and at the same time they didn't want to show me my real results and hide the paper when I asked for it. To my knowledge, HIV cannot be cured, and even if I am cured the doctors will do more research on me. I know for sure that if I have HIV then there is no way CD4 can increase consistently. Please tell how did my CD4 count increase?

A.  The CD4 cell or helper T-lymphocyte is the primary target of the human immunodeficiency virus and its number in blood declines as the disease progresses. The cell is involved in immune function and its count is a measure of how strong our immune system is. Normal CD4 counts in males range from about 500 to 1500 cells/ml. The CD4 count along with the viral load (level of HIV in blood) is used to stage the disease, predict complications and decide treatment. Serial CD4 counts help in predicting the outlook of the disease and treatment is usually started when the count falls to 200 cells or less. A single value of CD4 is not very revealing but counts over a period of time are important. CD4 levels tend to be lower in the morning as compared to evening and the counts may fall in acute infections and intake of certain drugs. A declining count over several months will determine therapeutic decisions. Please get you counts done every 6 months along with the viral load as that will help in correlating with your clinical profile.

A.  The CD4 cell or helper T-lymphocyte is the primary target of the human immunodeficiency virus and its number in blood declines as the disease progresses. The cell is involved in immune function and its count is a measure of how strong our immune system is. Normal CD4 counts in males range from about 500 to 1500 cells/ml. The CD4 count along with the viral load (level of HIV in blood) is used to stage the disease, predict complications and decide treatment. Serial CD4 counts help in predicting the outlook of the disease and treatment is usually started when the count falls to 200 cells or less. A single value of CD4 is not very revealing but counts over a period of time are important. CD4 levels tend to be lower in the morning as compared to evening and the counts may fall in acute infections and intake of certain drugs. A declining count over several months will determine therapeutic decisions. Please get you counts done every 6 months along with the viral load as that will help in correlating with your clinical profile.

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