Impact on CD4 Cells (T-lymphocytes)
Another test that is very important in the management of a person living with HIV and AIDS is the CD4 count. CD4 is a protein molecule found almost exclusively on the surface of the T-lymphocytes. For this reason, these cells are also called CD4 cells. The terminology is very often used interchangeably.) This molecule is crucial for HIV's attack on the body - the HI virus attaches onto this molecule to enter the T-lymphocytes cell.
Before being infected with HIV, a person would normally have 800 - 1200 T-cells or CD4 per milliliter of blood. Shortly after infection, this number drops dramatically due to the high number of HI viruses present.
As the viral load is brought under control, the CD4 cell count returns close to normal. But over the next eight to ten years, there is a gradual reduction in the CD4 cell count as the HIV manages to destroy more and more of these cells.
When I learned that I am positive with HIV and asked to have my CD4 count test, it was 331 only as of February 2007. It was my baseline and I never had my CD4 test again yet after a year of taking ARV. An HIV positive person with 350 and below CD4 count is advised to take the ARV or antiretroviral by the world standard to lessen the side effects of the drug. You will learn more on that on my next posts. Well, I will have my test next month.
Note: Information was excerpt from the "Channels of Hope" manual.