Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), can cause swollen lymph glands. Commonly swollen nodes in the neck are not a sign of a severe health issue like HIV or cancer, but an indication of an infection. Swollen lymph nodes are just one of many symptoms of this particular virus.

Lymph nodes are glands that are part of the lymph system that filters. When they are overwhelmed, they will begin to swell. This swelling will go down after the cause runs its course, or in the case of some illnesses and diseases, after treatment.

Getting To Know The Symptoms?

The symptoms of HIV can vary from patient to patient. Being able to identify the signs and get prompt treatment can prevent AIDS from developing (HIV & AIDS: Facts – HIV is a chronic condition that interferes with the immune system’s ability to fight off infection. Often opportunist infections will cause the person with this virus to become ill, and it can become life-threatening.

Fatigue is the most common symptom. Some of the other ones include the following:

  • Fever
  • Muscle soreness
  • Ulcers in the mouth (How to Treat Mouth Ulcers)
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Genital ulcers
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Night sweats

Another common symptom of this virus is swollen lymph node glands in the neck. It can be from HIV or an opportunist infection in the area of the neck.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Though everyone’s first fear when they feel a swollen lymph node is that they have cancer, usually, that is not the case. Diseases that cause swollen neck lymph nodes include lymphoma and leukemia, but other cancers can spread to lymph nodes in any part of the body, including the neck. HIV can sometimes be the cause, but usually swollen lymph nodes in the neck are from other reasons like the following:

Occasionally tuberculosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, toxoplasmosis, sexually transmitted diseases, and cat scratch fever will cause the nodes in the neck to become enlarged. There are a few medications that can affect the lymph nodes. Treatment will be required when there is severe illness or disease.

Treatment For Both

When swollen lymph nodes can be sensitive and even painful. The discomfort can be relieved with hot compresses, pain medication, and restricting movement. When HIV is the cause, the virus will need to be treated before the lymph nodes will return to normal size. When there are other infections, illnesses, or diseases, they will also need to be treated.


HIV is never cured, but the virus can be suppressed along with the symptoms that accompany it and can prevent AIDS from developing. A healthcare professional will be able to diagnose and treat swollen lymph nodes and HIV.