Q and A


Do these viral load results show that I don’t need HIV meds?

I am HIV positive for more than 30 years.

I only took HIV medication from November 2017 to July 2019 and I stopped because I am sure it caused me to have cancer.

Since I stopped I never became ill my CD4 and viral load flactuates. Viral load this time was 10900 while it was more than 17000 and then 37000 in the past three years.

My CD4 count is 258 now but I don’t have and complications.

I am really fit and I eat healthy, I exercise. Never had a cold or sore throat since I stopped taking HIV medication.I never tested positive for covid 19 but I work with people who are covid positive.

This is showing me that I don’t need HIV medication because my viral load is becoming lower and lower since I topped taking HIV medication.


Thanks for your email and the details of your history.

I understand how you feel but the evidence from many studies supports a very different interpretation of the results.

There is no evidence to show any link between HIV meds (ART) and risk of cancer. Instead, very large studies like SMART showed that ongoing viral load increases the risk of different cancers and than being on treatment reduces the risk. SMART also showed higher risk of heart, liver and kidney disease whn not on HIV meds.

Your different viral load results are all technically very similar. They doesn’t show a trend that your viral load is going down. More likely the blood samples was tested at times when the viral load was just a bit higher or lower. This is how viral load behaves when not on treatment.

It is also worrying that your CD4 count is now less than 300 cells/mm3. Your CD4 count is the most important monitoring test when not on treatment (rather than viral load). A CD4 count of 258 shows that HIV is already damaging your CD4 count and that it is likely to fall further. As this happens, your risk of serious complications, including some cancers, will increase.

ART in the UK can be as simple as taking one pill a day without serious side effects.

This is why guidelines recommend ART for everyone who is HIV positive.


  1. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Vusumuzi, your CD4 count tells you how healthy your immune system is. HIV works by killing CD4 cells and reducing how well the immune system works.

    A CD4 count is considered low if it is below 430. Which in your case it is. This means your immune system has been damaged by HIV and isn’t as healthy as it could be. Have you started ART? Starting ART is the best and only way to help your CD4 count recover. https://i-base.info/cd4-count/

    Have you had a viral load test done? This is a number that tells you how active HIV is in your body. Starting medication will reduce this number to almost undetectable levels and means that HIV cannot damage your CD4 count further.

  2. Vusumuzi

    Hi I tested positive and my cd4 count is 320 what does that means. I’m detected or undetected. Please help


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