The Particulars: Research suggests that patients who start HIV treatment with a CD4 count above 500 have increased odds of achieving a CD4 count in the normal range. However, studies of patients treated with chronic infection have not found a substantial reduction in patients’ HIV reservoirs over time, nor have they detailed the likelihood of reducing HIV reservoir levels during ART according to baseline CD4 counts.

Data Breakdown:  For a study, researchers followed 309 patients on ART with fully suppressed viral loads below 50 copies/ml. Primary outcomes were normal CD4 count, normal CD4/CD8 cell ratio, and low HIV reservoir level. Patients with baseline CD4 cell counts above 500 were significantly more likely to meet all three outcomes at their last clinic visit (30%) when compared with those with counts of 499-200 (3%) and those with counts below 200 (0%).

Take Home Pearl: Patients with HIV who begin treatment with CD4 counts over 500 appear to be more likely to achieve substantial reductions in the reservoir of HIV-infected cells in their bodies.