Annual CD4 count tests (a measure of how well your immune system is performing) should be enough for people taking HIV treatment who have a suppressed viral load and a CD4 count above 250 cells/mm3.

The CD4 count is used for monitoring health before beginning HIV treatment. Current UK guidelines are that anti-retroviral treatment (ART) should be started when the CD4 count falls below 350 (the normal range is between 500 and 1000), though there may be good reasons for starting ART sooner. However, once a person is taking ART, the viral load test is more important, and should fall to non detectable (it is then referred to as “suppressed”) and remain there.

So how often should people taking ART have their CD4 count monitored? Current UK guidelines suggests every six months; a new study suggests annually is just as effective.

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