Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection leads to reduced CD4+T-cell counts and immune dysfunction. Initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV primary infection has been recommended to achieve an optimal clinical outcome, but a comprehensive study on restoration of CD4+T-cell function in primary HIV-infected individuals with ART still needs to be eluciated. We investigated longitudinal changes in the CD4+T-cell counts, phenotypes, and functions in HIV-infected individuals with early ART (initiated within 6 months after HIV infection) or later ART (initiated more than 12 months after HIV infection). Patients from early ART and later ART groups had received ART for at least 1 year. Individuals with early ART had more CD4+T cells, a faster rate of CD4+T-cell recovery than those receiving later ART; the levels of CD4+T-cell activation and senescence were lower in early ART compared to those with later ART (P = .031; P = .016), but the activation was higher than normal controls (NC) (P = .001); thymic emigrant function was more upregulated in early ART than in later ART (P = .015), but still lower than NC (P = .027); proliferative capacity and interferon-γ secretion of CD4+T cells were significantly decreased in primary infection (P < .001; P = .029), and early ART restored these CD4+T-cell functions, there is no difference with NC, later ART could partially restore the functions of CD4+T cells, but it remained lower than that of NC (P = .005; P = .019). Early ART could better improve CD4+T-cell function.