Q and A


How do I improve and maintain my CD4 count?

I am HIV positive and my CD4 count is 696. How can I improve it or maintain it?


In general, the only way to increase your CD4 count is to use HIV treatment (ART).

No other products can increase your CD4 count – not vitamins, supplements or herbal remedies.

ART works by stopping the virus from replicating.  As your viral load is reduced your CD4 count will start to rise again.

Lifestyle changes can still be very important for your general health. Eating a nutritious balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing stress, sleeping well and stopping smoking can help to maintain a healthy immune system. These things are good for your health but just don’t have a direct impact on your CD4 count.

When you use ART, the information at this link on starting treatment will help.

Knowing about and understanding ART will help you feel in control over your treatment.

This answer was updated in January 2016 from a question first posted on 8 March 2012.


  1. Michael

    Hello my name is Michael and I am.hiv positive…I just went for blood tests and I found that my cd4 count is 164 and cd3 is 77%..is that normal? I am already taking Avonza pills

  2. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Barry,
    It’s important to take them around the same time. But once you’re stable and undetectable on treatment you can aim for a certain time and give yourself an hour either way – before or after. Many people find it easier to take ARVs at a time when they’re regularly doing something else. And with Trivenz it’s recommended to take them just before bedtime. Please see this link for more info.

    If you’re going to be in a new time zone and the time is very different, you probably need to change the time you take them. But you can switch when you arrive and carry on at that new time everyday. When you return you can switch back. But if it’s just an hour difference you could stick to the same time while you’re away.

  3. Barry

    I have a question about when to drink my ARV medication, i am on Trivenz, is it important to drink it everyday at the same time?

    Also i will be traveling to a different time zone can i start drinking my medication earlier to fit to the destinations time zone?

  4. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Klaas,

    How are you coping with your diagnoses? Are you able to get any support?

    The best way to keep healthy is to take your ARVs and TB meds. This is because you need to get rid of the TB and because the ARVs will help your CD4 to rise. This will in turn help your HIV.

    Other than that, eat well, and look after yourself and also make sure that you take your meds as prescribed. Also because your CD4 is 100 you’re more vulnerable to opportunistic infections. In some countries co-trimoxazole (often called Setrin or Bactrim) is given as a prophylaxis to be taken daily to prevent pneumonia and other infections.

    If you haven’t been given this, you could talk to your doctor about this.

  5. klaas

    Result came back positive. CD4 count is 100 and I also have TB. I’m taking ARVs and meds for TB. Do you have any advice on how to keep healthy?

  6. mamaria

    How do i increase my 437 CD4 count

  7. Roy Trevelion

    Taking HIV treatment is the only way to increase your CD4 count. HIV meds are really effective at keeping HIV under control. Having a viral load below 50 helps your CD4 count to increase.

  8. Rebecca McDowall

    Hi Mpumelelo,
    Abstaining from sex will not make any difference to your CD4 count. It is fine to have sex when you are HIV positive and this will not have a negative affect on the CD4 count.

    The only way to maintain or increase your CD4 count is to take ARVs. Are you on treatment?

  9. mpumelelo

    i have abstained sex for a year and cd4count picked by 209 how can i maintain it because i now have a relationship

  10. vukile

    Thanks about your help


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