Q and A


How can I improve my CD4 count when I am already on treatment?

How to improve my CD4 count of 210? Is it dangerous at this stage? I was stressed and it has never been so low. I take daily Truvada (tenofovir and FTC) and Viramune (nevirapine). How can I improve it? Will more sleep help? I eat healty foods.

Thank you.


Thank you for your question.

I am sorry to hear that you are stressed at the moment and that it is affecting your CD4 count. A CD4 count of 210 isn’t bad at all and is nothing to worry about.

How long have you been on medication? If you have recently started then it is possible that as you continue taking your meds your CD4 count will increase. Trying to reduce your stress levels or learning to manage your stress better could also help.

Other things that can help to increase CD4 counts include the same things that are advised for general health. Try to eat a balanced diet, sleep well, exercise, stop smoking, and only use alcohol or recreational drugs in moderation.

It is also possible that your CD4 count is just fluctuating and that it will naturally go back up on its own. Either way it is nothing to worry about. Once you have started treatment the most important thing to monitor is your viral load. As long as that remains undetectable your treatment is working.


  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Lesego,

    It’s good that your friend started treatment soon after testing positive. Starting sooner rather than later reduces the risk of other illnesses.

    It’s important that she keeps taking the antibiotics to make sure the infection is cleared up.

    Gaining weight is not dangerous in itself. Does she think that this is a side effect of her HIV meds? Early treatment for HIV could cause fat gain. But modern meds have fewer side effects like this and they are easier to take.

    Please ask her to talk to the doctor about whether this is likely a side effect of her meds, or if weight gain is due to something else.

  2. Lesego

    My friend was diagnosed with HIV in November 2017.she started her medication in Nov.he had a CD 4 count of 585 and viral load 985.she was given purbac antibiotics for 6 months and tri.her worry is that since she started meds..she gained too much weight.. How dangerous is it?

  3. Simon Collins

    Hi Bhavya, it is good that you are on treatment and that your CD4 count has increased. It should continue to increase for as long as you stay on treatment, although this might only be by smaller amounts. Actually, your CD4 count does not need to get any higher. Anything above 500 is considered normal for an HIV negative person. Also, about ! in 20 people (5%) who are HIV negative have a normal CD4 count that is under 500. You have nothing to worry about – everything is going very well. The only wsay to increase your CD4 count is to use HIV meds and you were lucky enough to start when your CD4 count was already still very good.

  4. Bhavya

    Hi. My CD4 just when i began the treatment was 659 and after taking ARVs for 6 months it has increased to 697. However this is not a significant increase!
    Is the body response to ARVs looks ok? Can you suggest something that i can do to improve it more?

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi yaya,

    ARVs are the only thing that can increase a persons CD4 count, therefore you’re already doing the best thing possible for your HIV. Because your CD4 count is 20 you may find the following info helpful:


  6. yaya

    I’m on ART, my CD4 count is 20. What can I do to increase it?

  7. Toms

    I started treatment when I had 12 (yes, only twelve) cd4. at that time i had citomegal virus with encephalytis combined with hiv\aids combo in last stage.
    Didnt know i had hiv for 7-10years. Found out in worst case scenario. But after 1 month of good regime and antiviral drugs – I took tivicay (dolutegravir) and combivir. it took 1 month and 1 operation of limphodenitis as complication i had 185 cd4 count and very good physical condition.

  8. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Patrica,

    What was your CD4 count when you started meds? How long have you been on them for?

  9. Patricia

    I’m 39yrs I have been taking drugs regularly my current CD4 count is 215 I’m being scared, what should I do?

  10. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Kevin,

    If you only started ARVs yesterday, its very unlikely that you’re feeling tiered due to the meds. Feeling tiered can be due to all sorts of things of which stress is just one cause. If it continues you should speak to a doctor.

    With regards to an increased libido, no ARVs don’t cause an increase in libido. You may however feel more comfortable sexually though once you’re on medication.


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