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swollen glands The Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions
Feb 11, 1997

Rick,please help me clear up some confusion. in regards to swollen glands, there seem to be two schools of thought on this issue,some "experts" say that in hiv one would probablyhave multiple areas of swelling (neck,groin,etc.) also,that localized swelling is not normally indicative of possible hiv infection,also if someone has oral herpes do swollen glnds in the neck usually accompany it? thanks for your time

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Since HIV is in the blood, it is a systemic infection, meaning it goes all around the body. Because of this, it normally infects lymph nodes (and causes swollen lymph glands) in multiple sites around the body (neck, groin etc.). The extent of swelling can vary greatly from person to person. But it usually causes swelling in multiple lymph node sites around the body. If a person has oral herpes (a cold sore), they may or may not have swollen lymph glands in the neck. This, too, can vary from person to person.

Let me emphasize here that having swollen glands (even in multiple sites around the body), is not in itself, an indication of HIV infection. There are many other infections and diseases that can cause swollen glands in one or more parts of the body. If you have swollen glands that persist for 2 or more weeks, or is accompanied by other symptoms, or becomes very severe or very painful, see your physician to determine the cause of your symptoms. Remember, swollen glands alone does NOT indicate HIV infection, in of itself!

For more information about the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, see the question "Symptomatic Stage". If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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