Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

CD4+ Cells - Topic Overview

CD4+ cells are part of the immune system and are a type of white blood cell. White blood cells protect the body against infection. CD4+ cells are also called T-lymphocytes, T-cells, or T-helper cells.

HIV invades and destroys CD4+ cells. But the body continues to produce new CD4+ cells to fight the HIV infection. If the infection is not treated with medicines, the body gradually loses the ability to produce enough CD4+ cells to replace the number that are being destroyed by HIV. As the number of CD4+ cells in the blood drops, it becomes harder for the immune system to fight infections.

Recommended Related to HIV/AIDS

Understanding HIV/AIDS -- the Basics

AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) isn't a disease in itself; rather, AIDS is a condition that develops when a person's body has been weakened by HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus). HIV is found in blood and sexual fluids and spreads mainly through unprotected sexual contact and the sharing of hypodermic needles and equipment. When a person becomes infected with HIV, it damages his or her immune system, leading to immunodeficiency; the immune system can no longer fight off common...

Read the Understanding HIV/AIDS -- the Basics article > >

CD4+ counts are measured every 3 to 4 months in people who are infected with HIV. The CD4+ count is an important measurement of how HIV is affecting your immune system and can help you decide when to begin treatment for HIV or when you need to try a different combination of medicines.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
STD Overview
Article
 
smiling mature man
Article
AIDS retrospective slideshow
Slideshow
 

HIV AIDS Screening
Slideshow
man opening condom wrapper
Quiz
 
HIV AIDS Treatment
Feature
Discrimination Stigma
Feature
 

Treatment Side Effects
Feature
grilled chicken and vegetables
Article
 
obese man standing on scale
Article
cold sore
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections