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.
CD4+ counts are measured every 3 to 6 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.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease