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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.

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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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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.
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