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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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I have a swollen lymph node just under my left ear.
Apr 9, 2014

I have a swollen lymph node just under my left ear. What could it be? I'm HIV +ve, diagnosed 4yrs ago. My CD4's have been fluctuating between 600 to 884. I was however recently started on HAART i.e. TDF/3TC/EFV about 6 weeks ago since my viral load had risen above 100,000 copies. The problem is that i got this swelling of my left lymph node (under my ear) in January, 2014 which has been persistent and is it still swollen. What could be the problem?

Response from Dr. Henry

Lymph nodes from that area drain from the ear, mouth, and neck so infections in those areas can result in swelling of a lymph node. In addition, there are other structures in the same area (including some salivary glands) that can swell/enlarge. Starting effective HIV treatment sometimes results in swelling of lymph nodes as the immune system reactivates and does a better job at trapping HIV particles within the lymph tissues. An assessment of the anatomy in the area of interest (a clinical examination and sometimes special X-rays) is recommended to sort out the possibilities. Once a lymph node enlarges (ie reactive swelling after starting effective HIV treatment) then that swelling may persist for a while. KH

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