Your immune system protects your body against illness and infections. The most important cells in your immune system are called CD4 cells.
A CD4 count tells us how many CD4 cells there are in a drop of your blood. The higher your CD4 count, the stronger your immune system is.
Your viral load is a measurement of how much the HI virus (the virus that causes HIV) is present in your body. The viral load can go up to millions.
Your CD4 count and viral load influence each other:
When your CD4 count is high, your viral load is usually lower; this is a good situation.
When your viral load is high, your CD4 count is usually low. This is not ideal because it means your immune system is low and unable to protect your body.
Balancing your CD4 & viral load
Taking antiretroviral (ARV) medication lowers your viral load and allows your CD4 count to increase. If you test HIV+ you can commence treatment immediately.
Once you start taking ARVs you need to take them correctly, as your healthcare provider told you to, so that your CD4 count will stay up and your viral load will stay down. Early HIV treatment improves your overall health and immune function.