Get to know the CD4 test, check for immune system disorders

As the name implies, the CD4 test is a test that measures the volume of CD4 cells in the body. CD4 or also known as T cells is one component of the immune system that plays a role in fighting infection.This test is generally used to determine the immune condition of a person infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the body, this virus attacks CD4 cells so that it triggers damage to cells which will have an impact on the immune system.

Get to know the CD4 test, check for immune system disorders

However, this test can also be applied to other immune disorders that both target CD4. To know more about this type of test, see the following information, come on!

1. What is a CD4 test?

What is a CD4 test?

As previously explained, the CD4 test is done to check the level or volume of CD4 in the body. Described through the MedlinePlus, in people with HIV / AIDS (PLWHA), this test has several purposes, namely:

  • To see how far the progress of HIV in the body is. The sooner detected, PLWHA can immediately receive treatment to suppress the virus and its development in the body.
  • Diagnosing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS can be said to be a complication of HIV, when people living with HIV experience a set of symptoms or infections due to low immunity.
  • Looking at the response of the virus and the body to HIV treatment. This helps healthcare workers assess the effectiveness of the drug and the side effects it can cause.

In addition, a CD4 test is also required for someone undergoing an organ transplant. Health care workers must ensure that the patient’s immune system does not attack the new organ. Therefore, low CD4 levels in organ transplant patients is good news because it means the body can accept the organ well.

2. Causes of decreased CD4 levels in the body

Causes of decreased CD4 levels in the body

Reported Healthline, CD4 cells are white blood cells whose job is to attack germs that cause disease. When the HIV virus enters the body, the virus will enter CD4 cells to replicate, causing cell damage.

The more the number of viruses in the body, the levels of CD4 cells will decrease as a result. Therefore, the body becomes more susceptible to disease. Therefore, treatment is needed to suppress the number of viruses so that the body has more time to restore normal levels of CD4 cells.

3. When and who should do the CD4 test?

When and who should do the CD4 test?

A person diagnosed with HIV needs to do a CD4 test to see the condition of his immune system. A few months after first getting a diagnosis, a CD4 test should also be done again to see the progress of HIV in the body.
Regular CD4 checks are also recommended to determine the effectiveness of treatment and side effects of HIV treatment on the body. The results of the examination can provide information whether the types of drugs consumed are still effective or need to be changed because the virus is experiencing resistance.
CD4 examination should be done routinely. The following are recommendations for routine CD4 checks based on the condition of HIV development.

  • People whose levels of the HIV virus are detected in their bodies are recommended to undergo a CD4 test every 3 to 6 months.
  • People with stable CD4 levels in the range of 300 to 500 cells per cubic millimeter for 2 years are recommended to undergo CD4 tests every 6 months.
  • People whose levels of the HIV virus in their bodies are undetectable do not need to do regular CD4 tests.

In addition to the CD4 test, the World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends routinely carrying out viral load which measures the amount of virus in the body every 6 months as well as clinical examinations to see symptoms or diseases that arise.

4. The results of the CD4 test

The results of the CD4 test

According to the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, the results of the CD4 examination can be classified into several groups as summarized below.

  • It is said to be normal if the CD4 count reaches 500 to 1,500 cells for every cubic millimeter of blood.
  • It is said to be abnormal if the CD4 count only reaches 200 to 500 cells for every cubic millimeter of blood.
  • A CD4 count below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood is at risk of developing AIDS and opportunistic infections, infections that occur due to a decrease in the body’s immune system.

People with HIV are said to be in fairly good health if their CD4 count per cubic millimeter of blood exceeds 500 cells. However, if the number is less than 200 cells for every cubic millimeter of blood, they are at risk of developing AIDS, which is the third stage in the development of HIV.

5. CD4 test procedure

CD4 test procedure

Unfortunately, the CD4 test cannot be done independently at home. The patient must come to the health facility.
Before the examination, there is no special preparation that needs to be done. Later, health workers will take blood samples for further analysis in the laboratory. Furthermore, patients may experience side effects such as soreness and swelling in the arm area where the blood sample was taken.
Performing a CD4 test regularly helps monitor the progress of HIV in the body. Therefore, this test is very important to do to determine the right HIV treatment strategy. Thus, the quality and life expectancy of PLWHA can be maintained.

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