Q and A


How can I increase my CD4 count without ARVs?

I have just found out that I was HIV positive in March, last year. My CD4 count was 270.

I did another test and it was 284 and my doctor said I must start treatment.

I just want to know what I must do to increase my CD4 count without taking treatment.


The only way to increase your CD4 is to use HIV treatment (ART).

Your doctor is giving you good information and advice.

Nothing else, including multivitamins, supplements or herbal remedies can increase your CD4 count.

Even though some companies advertise this, these are scams. There is no such thing as an “immune booster” and no “immune booster” will help your CD4 count or help with HIV.

Why do you want to delay ART or look at other options? HIV meds are really effective – this is what they were designed for.

ART stops HIV from replicating.  The main aim is to reduce your viral load to an undetectable level (less than 50 copies/mL). As your viral load goes down, your immune system start to repair itself.  This means that your CD4 count will slowly go up to higher levels again.

Currently South Africa recommendation starting treatment when the CD4 count is below 500 cells/mm3. This may change in the future and treatment might be recommended at any CD4 count. (Note: South African later changed to recommends treatment at any CD4 count).

Here is a link to more information about starting treatment.  Please take your time reading it and if you have any further questions do write back to me.

Are you receiving any support from other people? Getting support from your local support group or a counsellor can help you to come to terms living with HIV. Also you will be able to gain and share experiences with others who are in the similar situation as you, rather than having to deal with it in isolation.

This answer was updated in January 2016 from a question first posted on 2 March 2012.

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 Alexis,

    Thanks for getting back in touch.

    Even if you’re not happy with the time it takes to access meds and support, it sounds like you’re doing OK.

    Because you’ve now started meds, this may help:


  2. Alexis

    Hello again Miss Lisa

    In my country, there is a NON-Government Organization which in-charge to do FREE HIV TEST and the ARV meds are given by FREE of them.

    I only get support from them but the problem is the queue is too long and it really wasting of time. So im looking for someone/somewhere which is very accessible to go or talk to.

    Im doin lot of research online but it is different you hear it from an expert.

    Im on my 9th day of taking ARV…

    Thanks again Miss Lisa…

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Hema,

    With a CD4 of 117 you need to be on ART. And you need to start it as soon as possible. Because your CD4 is low you will also need to take co-trixmoxazole. This is because you are at risk of developing infections. And this is even if you feel well. Please see here for more info:


    As the above post explains, only ART can help improve your CD4.

  4. Hema

    Not taking ART treatment but taking homeopathy treatment before six months cd4 was 135 and now it is 117 since last three months no symptoms of cold and cough but how to improve CD4?

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi nkululeko,

    Like the above post explains, only ARVs can increase a persons CD4 count. Therefore, if you want to increase your CD4 you need to be on meds. Also, when you say your CD4 is low, how low is it?

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