Q and A

Question

Why does my CD4 count change over time?

I was diagnosed 7 years ago. Since then my CD4 count has been up and down between 750 and 1022. What is the cause of these fluctuations?

Answer

Before answering your main question it is important to say that your CD4 count is still really strong. Any CD4 count above 500 is considered ‘normal’ and not a cause to worry.

Secondly, because your count is so high, your doctor wil probably interpret both these results to be the same.

Many people see high CD4 counts fluctuate within a wide range over several years. Even a range of several hundred doesn’t indicating a real change in your immune system.

CD4 counts are only a rough marker of your immune system. The resultsfluctuate throughout the day with lower readings in the morning and higher later in the day. They can also be affected by exercise, other viruses and various different factors.

Whether the trend or average levels are going up or down is more imporant – and it sounds like you are probably stable.

Your CD4 percentage (CD4%) might confirm this as the CD4% is a more stable marker.

An unexpected drop in CD4 count when the percentage has not changed indicates this drop is not clinically significant.

Please go to the link for more information about CD4 and CD4%.

This answer was updated in January 2016 from a question first posted on 24 November 2011.

2 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Pertunia,

    Please can you let us know more about your question? What is it exactly?

  2. Pertunia

    Hi i’m on hiv treatment and i have a winds on my sumac what can I do?

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