Why monitor CD4 and viral load?

There are two key tests that doctors use to assess how HIV is affecting your body.

The CD4 cell count is a guide to how strong your immune system is. The viral load test measures the amount of HIV in your blood.

Regular monitoring of CD4 cell count and HIV viral load provides a good indication of the effects of HIV on your body. Your healthcare team can look at your test results and then discuss with you the need to start or change HIV treatment or any other course of treatment you may need.

You will have your CD4 cell count and viral load monitored as part of your regular HIV care. How often this happens will depend on the health of your immune system, whether or not you are on HIV treatment, and how any treatment you are on is working.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.