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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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How can the CD4 cells be boosted?
Nov 8, 2010

My 60 year old mother recently had a CD4 count which stands at 102. She is on ARVs and she is not feeling sick. I am worried that her CD4 count is very low and wondering if there is anything that can be done for her to boost her CD4? Please help.

Worried daughter

Response from Dr. Henry

Some patients (perhaps 15-20%) dont recover CD4 cells well even when on effective HIV treatment (with undetectable viral levels). Poor CD4 recovery may be more common when the CD4 count is low (an argument for starting treatment with higher CD4 counts) and in older individuals. The most important intervention is still controlling HIV replication with effective HIV meds and using appropriate prophylaxis for AIDS-related infections (ie Bactrim or Septra when CD4 count < 200). Even with a low CD4 count there is a clear clinical benefit to being on HIV meds with good viral control. There is no direct intervention to increase CD4 counts that is safe and effective (IL-2 was tried and not effective) so that remains a frustrating challenge. In some cases I have observed CD4 recovery in the face of good HIV control occurs very slowly but does occur (over years) so I hope that occurs in your mom's case. KH

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