Featured VideoThe Basics of HIV Management
Your first goal for healthy living with HIV are to take care of your T-cell count and your viral load. Listen as Dr. Paul DenOuden, HIV clinical specialist, explains why these numbers matter and how you can work with your doctor to reach your goals.
Track your CD4s and viral load
Once your HIV is diagnosed, your immune system health will depend on two important indicators:
|Your CD4s (T-cells)||Your viral load (the amount|
of virus in the bloodstream)
Learn about what these numbers mean and the role they play in your health and wellness.
What are the first goals for HIV wellness?
Staying well will require that you first keep your HIV managed to goal.
- T-cells or CD4s Normal Range: 500-1500 in non-infected individuals
- HIV Wellness Goal: Above 500
- Viral Load Goal for HIV Wellness: Undetectable (less than 50 copies)
Understanding T-cells: HIV weakens immunity by attacking the T-cells
The HIV virus attacks the body's ability to fight diseases. Among other things, it attacks disease-fighting white blood cells called CD4s, or T-cells. Without a good supply of T-cells, the body cannot fight off infections as quickly as it may need. Therefore, people living with HIV need a solid plan for protecting the T-cells to stay as healthy as possible.
Your viral load: left untreated, the virus can multiply
With the advances in medicine over the last several years, scientists have developed medications to help keep the virus from duplicating. As mentioned earlier, the amount of virus in the bloodstream is called the viral load. With fewer virus cells living and circulating in the blood, the T-cells are better protected.
Medications can also help keep your disease-fighting cells in a normal healthy range. When your immune system is strong, it keeps the HIV virus from destroying your body's ability to fight diseases. It is important to know that medications cannot cure anyone from HIV. As of today, once infected with the virus, you are infected for life.
The healthiest patients are often those who are well-informed. By using a checklist, you can track your wellness goals for your HIV numbers and make sure your cardiovascular numbers are at goal, too.