Q and A


How can I get my CD4 count to increase?

Hi – what can I do to help increase my CD4? I have just found out I am at undetectable level after 8 weeks on treatment which is great. my CD4 has gone from 95 to 166 (after 4 weeks) and is now 173 after 8 weeks. I know it can take time for the CD4 to recover when the base level is low as mine but I am still disheartened as I was really hoping for it to have rebounded a bit better than this. What can I do to help it increase? Many thanks for your advice.


Thank you for your question.

Your CD4 count is doing really well and increasing nicely. Most people take 6-12 months for their CD4 counts to increase significantly. You are doing really well and have nothing to feel disheartened about.

There is very little anyone can do to increase their CD4 counts accept using HIV treatment which you are already doing. However, there are some things that you can do to maintain your CD4 count and ensure it stays up. This includes eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, not getting stressed out, not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation and generally looking after yourself.

Information on this website is provided by treatment advocates and offered as a guide only. Decisions about your treatment should always be taken in consultation with your doctor.


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Nongo,

    Can I just clarify, have you tested negative, or positive for HIV?

    If you’re negative, then you shouldn’t be taking ARVs as there is no need.

    With regards to your CD4. A CD4 of 554 is normal in someone who is negative. This is because the normal range is from 460-1600.

    If you are positive and you are having to go to the toilet frequently, I would discuss this with your doctor as they should be able to give you something.

  2. Nongo

    I was tested negative but my CD4 count was 554 and a doctor adviced me to start HIV medication. After a year the medication makes me to go to the toilet frequently, so how can I get a help?

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Edwin,

    The drugs that are available for HIV depend on where you live. There are though many types of ARVs, all of which are effective. And all of which carry a risk of some sort of side effect. Though the severity of this varies, and from person to person.

    If you look at, “which drugs, which combination” at this link, this explains more about what drugs are out there for HIV:


    Dizziness is a common side effect with ARVs that contain efavirenz. Please see the following:


    What meds are you taking? How long have you been on them for? If its just a few weeks, the side effects should go. If they don’t then you should speak to your doctor about this.

  4. Edwin

    I am HIV positive. My CD4 count is 500 the ARVs given to me makes me dizzy as one who drank to stupor. Is there no other drugs than can be taken?

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Nana,

    If the weight loss was a lot then this could be treatment related. However, a 4 kilo drop is nothing to worry about.

  6. Nana

    Hi i tested HIV positive in 2007 and started treatment in 2013. Ever since my weight is not back to normal what can i do? My friend said i can take DS 24. So my question is am i stressing too much or what because my dr said my weight is just fine weighing 90 kg from 94 kgs.

  7. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Jay,

    Having a CD4 of 500 is still great. So this isn’t something to worry about, especially as you have an undetectable viral load. Because you have changed treatment, it should being to rise. So try not to worry.

  8. Jay

    Hi, I was diagnosed 6 months ago and started AVT within a month. I’m undetectable but CD4 count went from 668 to 500 on this last blood test. I had to have my drug changed from Triumeq to Odefsey and feel great , but I’m concerned about the drop. I feel like this is going to overtake me.

    Thank you for your assistance

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