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Swollen Glands- Should I be concerned?
Mar 2, 2001

DEAR DR, I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR COLUMN. I WILL BE BRIEF. MY BF AND I WERE DIAGNOSED LAST YEAR 4/00 POZ WITH CURRENT STATS OF VL 24,000 AND CD4 OF 798. I HAVE HAD A SWOLLEN GLAND BEHIND MY EAR FOR SEVERAL MONTHS NOW. I NOW HAVE ALSO DEVELOPED SEVERAL OTHER IN MY NECK AND UNDER MY JAW. I ASKED MY DOCTOR; SHE FEELS ITS NOTHING. THEY ARE NOT PAINFUL AT THIS TIME BUT ITS ALWAYS IN THE BACK OF MY MIND. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?

Response from Dr. Dezube

Swollen glands (lymph nodes) are VERY common in HIV infection. They are often a sign of the body fighting off the infection. The majority of lymph nodes in HIV'ers will come and go, and little needs to be done about them. You need to be concerned if you have systemic symptoms (e.g. fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss, and so on) or if one or two lymph nodes are unusually large when compared to the other lymph nodes. In these scenarios, it is often necessary to have the lymph nodes biopsied to check for either infection or cancer. HIV'ers with high CD4s (such as your count of 798) are particulary prone to swollen glands because your immune system is still quite healthy. BD.


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