Q and A


Can I have a low viral load and CD4 count?

Is it possible to have a viral load at 84 and CD4 count of 47. If yes what are the causes of a very low CD4 count?


Hi, how are you?

Yes this is possible. The most likely is if you have recently started treatment. HIV treatment works to suppress viral load and this can happen as quickly as one month from starting. HIV treatment does not directly improve CD4 count.

CD4 count naturally recovers when viral load is being suppressed but this can be a slow process. It is often slower, the lower the CD4 count is when HIV treatment starts.

Are you on treatment? and if so how long have you been taking it?



  1. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Ruth, it is good that you have started treatment. As you have done so recently this would explain your low viral load and low CD4 count. HIV can reduce your CD4 count and weaken your immune system. For a CD4 count this low, using an antibiotic called co-trimoxazole would be recommended to prevent other infections while your immune system recovers.

    Viral load can be suppressed very quickly while on treatment. It is common for people to be undetectable within a month of using it. CD4 recovers at a much slower rate. HIV treatment does not increase CD4 count. It instead suppresses HIV to allow the body to naturally recover.

  2. Ruth

    Sorry for taking so long to respond. I was diagnosed in Nov got my those results on the 21 of Nov. Its almost a month now since I started HAART Treatment.

    My problem is I had been going for HIV test for sometime and the results were always coming back -v until I had herpes on my face in Sep. I went back for test again but still -v until the recent one in Nov when it came back +v


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