Treatment training manual

1.10 CD4 differences between adults and children

Children generally have much higher CD4 counts than adults. Babies have higher CD4 counts than children.

  • Children under 12 years old with HIV are monitored by CD4% rather than absolute CD4 count.
  • After the age of about 60, the adult CD4 count drops gradually.

Table: CD4% and CD4 counts for babies and children

HIV disease category CD4% CD4 0-12 months old CD4 1-5 years old CD4 6-12 years old
1 – no damage 25% or over over 1,500 over 1,000 over 500
2 – moderate 15-24% 750-1,500 500-1,000 200-500
3 – severe under 15% under 750 under 500 under 200

The 2015 WHO guidelines include a detailed discussion of why ART is now recommended for children of all ages.

Guideline on when to start antiretroviral therapy and on pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (2015).

Direct link. (PDF download)

Last updated: 1 January 2016.