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Avatar universal

Swollen lymph nodes

Hi doc,
Concerning symptoms for possible HIV infection
I have questions about swollen lymph nodes:
How do we know if our lymph nodes are swollen? How do they feel like? Are they visually noticeable? Are they painful? Or Are there any specific things we notice or feel when our lymph nodes are swollen? Are they all swollen at the same times?
The reason is I've been checking my lymph nodes for so many times for days, and I could not figure out whether they are swollen or not.
Thank you in advance for your explanation.
10 Responses
239123 tn?1267651214
The medical term is lymphadenopathy.  If lymph nodes aren't swollen enough for you to notice without looking, they almost certainly aren't enlarged.  When people get lymphadenopathy, the swelling goes on for weeks or months, it doesn't come and go; the nodes may be painful or not.

People concerned about HIV should not go poking around themselves trying to find lymph node enlargement; absence of lymphadenopathy is not useful evidence against HIV, and most cases are due to other causes.  If you are worried about HIV, get tested for it.

Good luck-- HHH, MD
Avatar universal
Thanks doctor for the explanation.
I am planning to get tested, but it's just been 3 weeks from possible exposure. I called Planned Parenthood and they said that for HIV testing, it has to be at least 2 months from possible exposure.
Yesterday, I got like a slight pain on my chest. I applied some ointment, and it seemed to be gone today.
But this morning, I develop burning sensation on the area of my chest (btw, this chest area is different from the chest area I was talking above...this area is below my collarbone...one side only).
I can still feel the burning sensation till now.
I have no idea what it is.
I started to workout at the gym about a month ago. Is this just a pain because of my workout, because if I'm not mistaken, workout does not make your body feels like burning.
239123 tn?1267651214
Your symptoms sound like anxiety, not at all like HIV.  If you're not a gay man or an injection drug user and your exposure 3 weeks ago was with a person not known to be HIV positive, the chance of you catching HIV was almost zero; see numerous other threads on this forum (search "HIV anxiety").  But in any case, you don't need to wait 2 months.  About 90% of infected people develop positive tests within 3 weeks.

Avatar universal
It was a gay casual encounter. It was an unprotected oral sex (no ejaculation) and protected anal sex (no ejaculation).
What do you think are the chances of me getting infected?
This forum is very helpful. Thank you so much.
239123 tn?1267651214
The risk is statistically a little higher, because the chance your partner was HIV positive is higher.  But still very low.  Rather than worrying so much about this particular exposure, you need to be concerned about the long run.  If you are attracted to men, you need to think how you're going to factor in future sex with how you select partners, safe sex, etc.  Most important by far is to NEVER have sex with a man known to be HIV positive, ALWAYS ASK your partner whether he has HIV (and share your status), and refuse to proceed with sex--even oral sex only, even with condoms--with guys who refuse to say, or whose body language makes you not trust the answer.

But in the meantime, don't lose any sleep over this particular exposure.  The odds of infection were too low to worry about.

Avatar universal
sorry doc, last one:
I notice two lymph nodes on my neck that I think are little bit swollen. One is located on the left side and is a little bit tender. The one on the right side is not tender.
I can feel the bumps, but I dont think I can see the bumps. (unless I tilt my head to the sides)
So, are swollen lymph nodes supposed to be tender?
I tried to feel other lymph nodes (groin, armpit). And I dont think I feel any bumps.
My neck is stiff so I like to bend my neck (until it makes the "crack" sound). I'm wondering if this might possibly be the cause of the bumps that I feel on my neck.

Thank you...
Avatar universal
I had Possible Exposer, Of Hiv not too sure but lately I've had two bumps under my chin near the middle that i can feel and they've been like that for a few weeks its really bugging me and I'm kinda freaked out about it....I'm not sure what a swollen glands feels like but I've asked other people if they have those bumps and they've all said no so at this point I'm freaked think i t might be swollen glands...if so then they've been like this since July 15th We're in August now! i had a test done before this exposer and I was 100% clean but this exposure was after that.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, Please somene help me, false test or for real. was started.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, May I contracted HIV was started.
Avatar universal
Hi doc I was wondering if you can help me..I was diagnosed with low grade hpv and I also have about 7 to 8 lymph nodes all around my neck...I've had the for about a year to maybe more what are my chances of having cancer and how long does it take for the hpv to leave my body?
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