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HIV/First Signs
Mar 29, 2001

I just recently found out I have HIV. My T-Cells are above 900 and viral load at approxiamately 14,000. I have swollen lymphnodes on the back of my neck and head, as well as headaches. If the swelling does not go down, what will the doctors most likely do to help this problem?

Response from Dr. Little

Swollen lymph nodes are a common physical finding in individuals with HIV infection. This is typically the result of the HIV replication within the cells of your lymph nodes and your body's response to the infection within the lymph nodes. The most common treatment for swollen lymph nodes is the use of antiretroviral medications. Having said this, swollen lymph nodes are not an indication for antiretroviral therapy, but they will usually shrink in size when therapy is taken. It is also possible given your T cell count that you might have been more recently infected and if this is the case, the nodes may go down some on their own over time (months). Finally, I will assume that you have no other problems which would indicate another explaination for swollen lymph nodes (ie other infectious causes) - but, if you do have any other symptoms, such as fever, weight loss, or night sweats, you should discuss these with your doctor, since there are many other (non-HIV) causes of swollen lymph nodes.

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