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Lymph to make them go away.
Mar 2, 2001

Dear Dr. Dezube, I have two lymph nodes on my neck. One on the right side and a small one on the back of my neck. Is there any way to make them go away without surgery? I told my doctor I wanted them biopsied, but he refused saying that "if you turn out to be HIV+, the same ones will return in the same area. I don't believe him and he was very insensitive towards my situation. I haven't had an HIV test yet...I'm simply afraid to.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Lymph nodes are a very NORMAL part of the immune system. They tend to swell and shrink depending upon what infections you may have (kids have them all the time when they get an upper respiratory infection). They are VERY common in HIVers, but they are also VERY common in people who do not have HIV. Since they are essentially a normal structure, it does not pay to have them removed if they are "small" (e.g. pea-sized). HOWEVER, lymph nodes can also harbor many diseases (cancer, infection, and so on), so it is important to have them removed or biopsied if one or two of them is unusually large or if you have systemic symptoms (fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss, and so on). As for getting an HIV test, rather than having the anxiety related to taking a test, it is much better to have the test and know whether you are or are not HIV+. Knowledge is power.

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