When first diagnosed you will hear a great deal about CD4 and Viral Load.
- CD4 measures how well your immune system is functioning.
- Viral Load measures how much virus is in your body.
- Measures the strength of the immune system by counting how many CD4 cells are present in a cubic ml of blood
- A healthy immune system is usually 350 and above
- When the CD4 fall to below 350 you will usually be advised to start medication
- CD4 will be reflective of general health
- CD4 percentage is the percentage of white blood cells (lymphocytes) that are CD4 cells.
- 30% – 66% of white blood count is normal
- CD4 ceases to be important once you have started medication and become undetectable.
- Measures the amount of virus present in a cubic ml of blood.
- Also in semen – including precum – vaginal fluid and breast milk
- The lower the viral load the less strain on the immune system – and the less transmissible
- The goal of medication is to reduce viral load to less than 50 copies in a ml of blood
- Under 50 copies in a cubic ml of blood = UNDETECTABLE
What does UNDETECTABLE mean?
- A healthy immune system
- Normal life expectancy
- No transmission risk
- Reduced risk of ill health regarding HIV
- Reduced risk of mother to child transmission in pregnancy and breastfeeding
- You can be employed in more of less any job
- Protection under the law
For more information use the NAM website:
If you have any further questions, please talk to your consultant, doctor, nurse, health advisor or The Peer Support workers