How does CD4 cell count guide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019
  • Author: Sowmya Nanjappa, MD; Chief Editor: John Bartlett, MD  more...
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When the CD4 cell count is < 200 cells/µL, patients are at a greater risk for life-threatening, AIDS-defining, opportunistic infections. [7]

Clinical trials have shown that early antiretroviral therapy (ART) in patients with a CD4 count < 200 cells/µL improves survival and delays disease progression compared with delayed ART. [8]

When discussing starting ART, physicians should inform patients that data on the clinical benefit of starting treatment at a CD4 count >500 cells/µL are variable; it is not strong for individual health, but it clearly reduces transmission. [2]

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