[Question #741] Hiv

52 months ago
Dear doctors i just want to ask what are the characteristics of lymph nodes from hiv, are they localized or generalized, are they tender or hard.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
52 months ago

Welcome to the Forum.  I will be pleased to answer your question.  Only a small proportion of persons with swollen lymph nodes have HIV.

Swollen lymph nodes occur at different times in the course of HIV infection.  When persons have the Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS) in the first 2-4 weeks after infection about half of people have swollen lymph nodes associated with other symptoms such as a sore throat, high fever and severe muscle aches.  Some people describe the ARS as the "worst flu ever".  During this stage of infection persons may have localized lymphadenopathy in the area of the throat or generalized lymphadenopathy.  Persons may have tender swollen lymph nodes under the jaw and in the neck with the ARS. 

Isolated lymph node swelling is not a sign of the ARS and can be caused by a long list of other problems including allergies, sore throats, mononucleosis, other infections, and some cancers.  It is not uncommon to be able to feel swollen, non-tender lymph nodes in normal persons and a swollen lymph node is rarely a reason for concern in the absence of other symptoms.  With repeated pressure/self-examination lymph nodes will become tender.

After HIV has been established and beyond the time when the ARS occurs but before other problems associated with advanced HIV occur, generalized lymph node swelling may be present in persons with HIV.  These lymphadenopathy is typically generalized, involving nodes in the neck, axilla (under the arm), and groin and tend to be non-tender.  At this stage of infection, antibody blood tests for HIV will always be positive.

I hope these comments are helpful.  EWH

---
52 months ago
Thank you Doctor, but I was just wondering when ars comes, do all lymph nodes swell with ars(body wide), because many experts, including you in medhelp, says when ars affects lymph nodes, it is body wide, now I'm confused, your saying it can be localized not body wide in ars
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
52 months ago
In the ARS there may be either generalized lymph node swelling or, in persons with sore throat, just swelling of the lymph nodes of the neck.  EWH
---
52 months ago
Ok Doctor, can I ask you one last question, if ars occurs without any other symptoms, no fever, no sore throat, just one lymph node, do you think it's ars, and if there is no sore throat, lymph nodes will be generalized or not.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
52 months ago
No, there is no reason for concern about a single enlarged lymph no detected without other symptoms.  this does not suggest ARS at all.  EWH
---