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When should you get a CD4 count test?

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Right after you're diagnosed, you should get a CD4 count for a baseline measurement. That gives your doctor something to compare future test results to.

It may also show the need for drugs that stop specific opportunistic infections (OI)s, in addition to the drugs you are taking for HIV.

A viral load test 2 to 8 weeks after you start or change treatment helps your doctor decide how well the antiretroviral therapy (ART) is working. A CD4 test will show whether your immune system is improving in response to ART.

You'll typically get a CD4 test every 3 to 6 months, or as often as your doctor recommends, to see how well your immune system is doing.  If you have a low CD4 count and you're taking drugs to prevent specific OI, in addition to antiretroviral therapy, you may be able to stop OI drugs as your immune system responds to ART. If you have a CD4 count above 500 and maintain viral suppression, you might not need more CD4 testing.

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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