Routine Cystic Swellings Vs. PGL of AIDS Virus

Q. I had a painless lump on my scrotum which disappeared after about 5 days.  About 6-8  weeks ago,  I have had small painless lump too in my armpit. It stayed for 2 weeks and gradually disappeared. There were no other symptoms during that period. Is it HIV related? I am 38 years old and male.


There are many causes of painless lymph node enlargement, apart from HIV.

It is more likely that you had some cystic swelling over your scrotal skin and in the armpit area. This could have been some sebaceous cyst or a hair follicle granuloma.

Lymph nodes commonly enlarge in HIV infections. These nodes are basically filters that catch germ cells or cancer cells. Consequently they get enlarged.

In an HIV positive person, the enlargement of lymph node may occur due to one of the following reasons:

  • As a defensive response to the viral particles of HIV
  • Due to some carcinoma. Cancers are very common in HIV.
  • In response to some other infection. Opportunistic infections are very common in HIV patients.
The typical pattern of lymph node enlargement in HIV is called persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (PGL).
Here, lymph nodes of two or more different sites enlarge to more than 2cm in size. Also, the enlargement persists for 3 months or more.

Other symptoms of HIV may or may not accompany.

Common Symptoms of HIV Include:

  1. Fever
  2. Fatigue
  3. Achy muscles, joints
  4. Skin rash
  5. Sore throat, headache
  6. Weight loss
  7. Nausea, vomiting
  8. Diarrhea
  9. Dry cough
  10. Night sweats
  11. Nail changes
  12. Fungal infections
  13. Confusion, difficulty in concentrating
  14. Cold sores, genital herpes
  15. Tingling and weakness

HIV does not have any diagnostic symptoms. The picture may resemble that of common flu or some other illness. Sometimes, the virus may reside quietly in the body giving no symptom at all.

Therefore it is recommended to get screened for HIV on an yearly basis, especially if you feel you are prone to it.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Benign Lumps Vs. Persistent Generalized Lymphadenopathy of HIV

  1. Vutlhari

    I’m HIV positive with my partner we are staying together. He is on ARVs and I’m not. We sometimes use condoms but sometimes we don’t. I went for testing after 6 months and my cd4 count is 1700 and virus 9000. It means I’m getting sick or better? Because the first I test was 650 cd4 and 2000 virus.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Since your CD4 levels are better, this indicates an improvement in your immune status. You appear to be getting better.

      Why don’t you start ART like your partner?


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