Answer to a question from a reader

How can I increase my CD4 count without ARVs?

The short answer

The only way to increase your CD4 is to use ARVs

The whole question

Dear GroundUp

I have just found out that I was HIV-positive last year. My CD4 count was 270. I did another test and it was 284. My doctor said I must start treatment. What must I do to increase my CD4 count without taking ARVs?

The long answer

Your doctor is giving you good information and advice. Only HIV medication will increase your CD4 count. Nothing else, including multi-vitamins, supplements or herbal remedies can increase your CD4 count. Looking after yourself is important. For example, eating a balanced diet, keeping physically and mentally active, reducing stress, and sleeping well. But increasing your CD4 count is only proven by using ARVs.

While a CD4 one day, may be higher than a few weeks ago, this is due to random chance. In general, over time, without ARVs, your CD4 count will decline. A CD4 count below 300, such as yours, is already very low.

Even though some companies advertise that vitamins and supplements can help your CD4 count, these are scams. There is no such thing as an “immune booster” and no “immune booster” will help your CD4 count or help control HIV.

You should consider giving ARVs a try as they have proven to be effective over the years. ARVs stop HIV from replicating.  The main aim is to reduce your viral load to an undetectable level (less than 50 copies/mL). As your viral load goes down, your immune system starts to repair itself.  This means that your CD4 count will slowly go up to higher levels again.

Here is a link to more information about starting treatment

Note: This answer was adapted from a question on i-Base. Here is a link to the original answer:

Wishing you the best,

Answered on May 4, 2023, 1:37 p.m.

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