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What does HIV do to CD4 cells?

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HIV damages your immune system because it targets CD4 cells. The virus grabs on to the surface of a cell, gets inside, and becomes a part of it. When the infected CD4 cell dies, it releases As an infected CD4 cell multiplies so it can do its job, it also makes more copies of HIV into the bloodstream.  

Those new bits of virus find and take over more CD4 cells, and the cycle continues. This leads to fewer and fewer HIV-free, working CD4 cells.

HIV can destroy entire families of CD4 cells, and then the germs these cells fight have easy access to your body. The resulting illnesses are called opportunistic infections  (OIs) because they take advantage of your body's lack of defense.

SOURCES:

UpToDate: "Techniques and interpretation of measurement of the CD4 cell count in HIV-infected patients."

Lab Tests Online: "CD4 Count."

New Mexico AIDS InfoNet: "CD4 Cell Tests."

Reviewed by Jonathan E. Kaplan on June 23, 2019

SOURCES:

UpToDate: "Techniques and interpretation of measurement of the CD4 cell count in HIV-infected patients."

Lab Tests Online: "CD4 Count."

New Mexico AIDS InfoNet: "CD4 Cell Tests."

Reviewed by Jonathan E. Kaplan on June 23, 2019

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What else can affect your CD4 count?

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