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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Parotid gland enlargement
Nov 25, 2007

Dear Dr. Henry,

I've read about parotid gland enlargement being a problem in a small percentage of HIV+ persons. I'm wondering if it is a condition that becomes noticeable at a certain CD4 level, or if it is a reaction to HIV itself after a certain number of years even if CD4 numbers remain relatively high.

Thank you!

Response from Dr. Henry

I haven't noted any particular link to CD4 level or duration of HIV infection. In my experience it has most often been due to a cystic condition of the parotid glands that seems to be somewhat more common in HIV+ persons. Full suppression of HIV replication with antiretrovirals has provided variable benefit so some of my patients still have recurrent problems in some cases necessitating repeat low dose radiation. Scanning of parotids and biopsy remain important to reach the most accurate diagnosis possible in order to properly optimize treatment. KH

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