Swollen lymph nodes

Question

Hello. I have had HIV for a little over a year. I started meds about 10 months ago (sustiva/truv) and have an undectable vl. After intitial exposure, I had swollen lymph nodes in my head and neck. I continue to have a pair of swollen lymph nodes in the front part of my neck. I had a CT scan last summer that showed the lymph nodes were enlarged but my doctor described the results as "clear." Should I worry that these nodes don't go away? Is it dangerous for these nodes to just hang around forever? Thanks.

Answer

Thanks for your post.

Having generalized enlarged lymph nodes is not uncommon among persons with HIV infection, particularly among those who are not on antiretroviral therapy. The size of the nodes tends to decrease once treatment has been initiated.

The important thing is to distinguish the "reactive" lymph nodes of HIV from other conditions, including lymphoma. To the end, it's entirely reassuring that your doctor has done a CT scan to look for evidence of larger, more significant nodes elsewhere.

So, it would seem that you fall into the enlarged, but not pathologically-so lymph node category. At this point, I wouldn't be too concerned. Just keep an eye on the size and consistency of the nodes that you can feel. Should this change, by all means let your doctor know. Overall though, I'd focus on maintaining your adherence to your regimen and enjoy your returning health.

Best of luck, BY