Q and A

Question

Will Septrin increase my CD4 count?

I tested hiv+ in December 2017 and my CD4 count is 913. My doctor starting me with Septrin instead of HIV medication. Is this a good start for me? Will the Septrin increase my CD4 count and prevent me from possible illnesses?

Answer

Hi

I am sorry to hear about your recent HIV diagnosis – how are you feeling?

Although it might be difficult now, I promise it will get easier.

Your current CD4 count is so strong that your doctor might not be able to prescribe HIV meds. Even though guidelines say that everyone should be able to use HIV meds, in a few countries people need to wait until the CD4 count drops to lower levels.

Actually, at counts above 500, the risk from HIV-related complications is still very low, so for most people, waiting a while will be okay. Many people still use treatment at high CD4 counts though so that their viral load is undetectable. This has some benefit for your health and also protects your sexual partners.

Septrin is also called co-trimoxazole. It is a double antibiotic that is active against many infections, especially in people who have a low CD4 count. However, it is not needed in HIV positive people who have a strong CD4 count (above 350 or 500 cells/mm3).

Septrin does not make your CD4 count stronger, and isn’t normally used with such a high CD4 count, unless your doctor is doing this to prevent a specific infection.

Perhaps your doctor has given you Septrin until you start HIV meds. Please ask your doctor what this treatment is for and whether you have the option to use HIV meds.

10 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Lyke,

    If your partner is on medication and her viral load is undetectable, there’s no risk to you. Please see here: http://i-base.info/u-equals-u/
    Septrin can’t be used to prevent HIV, its an antibiotic. If your partners viral load isn’t undetectable you could use PrEP. Please see here: http://i-base.info/guides/testing/pep-pepse-and-prep

  2. Iyke

    Iam a 46yrs old man,Iam h.i.v negative but my partner is positive,she is already on medication,if i take septrin before sex,can it prevent me from contacting the virus

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Mukesh,

    This is something that you’ll need to discuss with your doctor, because you’re right if you have a CD4 of 540 you shouldn’t need septrin.

    Septrin won’t cause any issues to your child.

  4. Mukesh PN

    Why should pregnant woman take septrin until they deliver, if the cd4 count is is 540.
    Won’t taking too much septrin affect the unborn baby.
    At what stage in pregnancy should one start taking septrin and when should one stop if the cd4 count is 540.
    Won’t too much TB prevention and septrin prevention medicines in pregnant woman if cd4 is 540 affect the unborn child?

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Ellen,

    Its now recommended that everyone who is positive should be on ARVs. Therefore, yes now would be a good time to start. Please see here: http://i-base.info/guides/starting

  6. Ellen

    Hai am Ellen and am hiv positive I knew my hiv status in 2009 and my cd4 was 983 and have stayed like that since then when can I start meds

  7. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Sarah,

    Since 2015 have you had your CD4 count and viral load monitored? If you have what’s your most recent CD4 count? If you’ve not had a CD4 count test done since 2015, please book an appointment to see your doctor. They should test your CD4 count and also tell you what your treatment options are.

    Starting treatment now is the right thing to do, so yes please so start. You may find the following helpful: http://i-base.info/guides/starting

  8. sarah

    am hiv postive since july 2015.my cd4cout was 583 in 2015.can i start treatment

  9. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Abel,

    If your partner is on medication and her viral load is undetectable, you aren’t at risk of contracting HIV. Please see Q’s 9 and 14 here:

    http://i-base.info/qa/what-are-the-most-asked-questions

    Septrin is an antibiotic, it won’t stop a person from contracting HIV. Its PEP that can help reduce the risk of someone contracting HIV. Please see here:

    http://i-base.info/guides/testing/pep-pepse-and-prep

  10. Abel

    Iam a 46yrs old man,Iam h.i.v negative but my partner is positive,she is already on medication,if i take septrin before sex,can it prevent me from contacting the virus

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