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What is lymphadenopathy ?? Should I be worried?
Jul 5, 2001

I was diagnosed HIV+ two years ago, my CD4 count was 260 and viral load 320,000. I started triple combination therapy three months later and since then my cd4 count has varied from 640 to 430 and my viral load has gone down to undetectable. When I was first diagnosed I had and still have a swollen gland on the side of my neck. My doctor said that this was lymphadenopathy.This swelling is sometimes painful but it doesn't affect me being able to eat or drink. I want to know what exactly lymphadenopathy is and if this means I have AIDS. In general I feel well

Response from Dr. Dezube

Lymphadenopathy is nothing more than a medical term for enlarged (swollen) lymph nodes. HIV infected patients are particularly prone to develop enlarged lymph nodes. They are NOT necessarily a sign of AIDS. Most of the times, these enlarged lymph nodes represent the body's attempt to fight off HIV. On occasion lymph nodes can harbor either infection or cancer. More often, however, they are a healthy sign that you have an immune system capable of fighting off invading organisms. Lymph nodes should be biopsied if they are way out of proportion to other nodes, are persistent, or are associated with sever systemic symptoms (fever, chills, weight loss, and so on). I've had many patients in my practice, whom I have followed for almost a decade, who have recurrent lymph nodes, many of which are huge; yet they have developed neither cancer nor infection.

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