See the latest coronavirus and vaccine information.
Learn about the Lancaster General Hospital emergency department expansion and new entrance.
A CD4+ count is a blood test to determine how well the immune system is working in people who have been diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). CD4+ cells are a type of white blood cell. White blood cells are important in fighting infections. CD4+ cells are also called T-lymphocytes, T-cells, or T-helper cells.
HIV infects CD4+ cells. The number of CD4+ cells helps determine whether other infections (opportunistic infections) may occur. The pattern of CD4+ counts over time is more important than any single CD4+ value because the values can change from day to day. The CD4+ pattern over time shows the effect of the virus on the immune system. In people infected with HIV who are not getting treated, CD4+ counts generally decrease as HIV progresses. A low CD4+ count usually indicates a weakened immune system and a higher chance of getting opportunistic infections.
CD4+ counts are done to:
A CD4+ cell count taken at the time you are diagnosed serves as the baseline against which future CD4+ cell counts will be compared. Your CD4+ cell count is monitored every 3 to 6 months, depending on your health status, previous CD4+ cell counts, and whether you are taking antiretroviral therapy medicines.
Before you have this test, you may have the opportunity to meet with a counselor so that you understand what the test results could mean about your HIV infection.
A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.
When a blood sample is taken, you may feel nothing at all from the needle. Or you might feel a quick sting or pinch.
There is very little chance of having a problem from this test. When a blood sample is taken, a small bruise may form at the site.
CD4+ cell count results are generally available in 1 to 3 days, depending on the lab.
Each lab has a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should show the range that your lab uses for each test. The normal range is just a guide. Your doctor will also look at your results based on your age, health, and other factors. A value that isn't in the normal range may still be normal for you.
In people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as the CD4+ count drops, it becomes more likely that acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) will develop.
Current as of:
September 23, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicinePeter Shalit MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: September 23, 2020
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Peter Shalit MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find our contact forms and phone numbers or give feedback on a recent experience using Care to Share.
View test results, schedule appointments, or request prescription refills from the convenience of your computer or mobile device.
Learn about health system news and meet new providers in Progress Notes, Lancaster General Health's provider newsletter.
Want to make a payment without a MyLGHealth account? Click the "Pay as Guest" button below.