Q and A


Can I increase my CD4 count without HIV treatment (ART)?


This is still a common question but the answer is still definitely “no”.

The only proven way to increase your CD4 count is to use ART to reduce viral load to undetectable. Then your immune system has a chance to repair itself.

There is no such thing as “immune boosting” drugs or diet. In the context of HIV this idea is nonesense. It is good for your general health to eat well, to exercise and to get good sleep – but these things do not increase your CD4 count.

Even in 2016, with very effective meds that have very low risk of side effects, people ask “do I really need treatment”. That is actually a slightly different question. This answer will depend on discussions with your doctor.

For some people HIV will progress very slowly, so the urgency for treatment will be different. But even at high CD4 counts, being on ART is better than letting HIV continue to be untreated.


  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Mpho,

    I’m sorry to hear about your partner, it sounds as though he’s not well at all. And there are many things that can affect his sex drive, including being depressed and generally unwell.

    You’re right that it’s important for him to go to see the doctor. His CD4 count is very low, this can mean he’s at risk of other infections. So he should go to see the doctor as soon as he can.

    It’s a good idea to make a list of the problems so he can talk to the doctor about all these different things. But taking his ARVs, getting enough rest and sleep, and eating well can all help to increase his CD4 count.

    He can also discuss his depression and the stress of running the business with the doctor to make sure that gets the right treatment to recover well.

    You can find more information about sexual health in this i-Base guide:

  2. mpho

    Hi my partner he thinks that ARVs have affected his sex drive, at the beginning I thought he was lying but I’ve googled it and find out that it’s true. I try to talk about that, then I decided to help by going to see the doctor but he can’t make it of course he’s busy running business as he’s a business man. Am worried becourse his life comes first and he was admited at hospital for depression. The only thing that its to make booking to attend classes or so forth, I’ll drag him there, or make an excuse for us to be there since there’s a lot that we need to learn. Worse part his health it’s not good a lot, his CD4 it’s lower than 4 and he always busy, doesn’t get enough rest, eating junk…please help… bless….!!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *