Q and A

Question

Will “immune boosters” help my CD4 count?

My friend is also on HIV treatment is taking some immune boosters he bought. Would these help my CD4 count too?

Answer

Hi,

HIV treatment (ART) is the only thing that will help make sure your CD4 count goes up or stays stable.

Both you and your friend should be careful about any product that is branded or sold as an ‘immune booster’.

These and other supplements will do nothing to help your CD4 count. As the ingredients are usually unknown, they could potentially be harmful. The advertising is at best misleading and at worst is likely to be lying to scam you out of your money.

Herbs and supplements can also interact with your HIV meds and stop the medicine from working properly.

Before starting ART tell your doctor and pharmacist about any other drugs, medicines or supplements that you are taking.

This online resoure is a really useful way to check for drug interactions.

15 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Felicia.

    Even if you feel well, you still need to be on treatment. You also need to see how your HIV has progressed. You’ll need a CD4 count test done.

    Its common to worry about starting medication, however you shouldn’t be scared. Please see here for more info: http://i-base.info/guides/starting

  2. Felicia

    Hi I tested for HIV 2006 and results came out positive so since then I never take treatment so I was a slim person and now I gained lot of waight and I do look healthy, so I tested again this year they came out the same positive but am surprised am not sick at all and am scared to start a treatment

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Gerald,

    HIV treatment (ART) is now routinely recommended for all HIV positive people. But exactly when to start is an individual decision.

    As long as there is not a medical urgency (such as an immune system that is not working well), it is okay to take time to decide.

    Please see this question which Simon answers in detail.

    Here’s the link to an Introduction to ART. This can help if you go to the doctor to talk about starting ART.

  4. Gerald

    Hello am guy l tested in 2004,then l found out that am positive, that three months,l lost wight,then l start using soil powder every morning,then l started using multiple vitamins like vitamin b complex,until now l have 2 kids who are negative and very healthy,
    My point is is it going to affect me,l have never been to a doctor ever since l tested,what can l use to make my life go foward

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Temby,

    Its common to feel like this when you’ve just been diagnosed. Reading the advice that’s in this link may help: http://i-base.info/just-found-out/

    HIV is no longer the illness it used to be. As long as you’re on medication its very manageable, so no you aren’t going to die from HIV. There’s no reason why you can’t live a long and health life.

    Due to you having a small baby they’re going to need to be tested, its also important that you don’t breastfeed them.Have these things been discussed with you?

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