Q and A


What are swollen lymph nodes like?


Lymph nodes are the junctions in your lymph system. They are widely distributed throughout your body but are most prominent in your neck, in your armpits and near your groin (in the fold between the top of your leg and your body).

You can sometimes feels them as small bumps about the size of a pea. If they are swollen they are slightly larger, harder, and easier to feel.

They swell because this is where most of your CD4 immune cells rest. When you body has an infection, the immune cells nearest the site of the infection increase, and this increases the side of the lymph nodes.

If you cut your finger and get an infection, the lymph nodes for that arm will increase. If you get a sexually transmitted infection, the lymph nodes in your groin will increase.


  1. Simon Collins

    Not generally. Although HIV-positive people may be at higher risk of developing inflammatory problems like arthritis this has not been widely reported. Some older HIV drugs have been linked to muscle toxicity.

  2. Mike

    Thanks Simon,

    Just one last question, is HIV known to cause swelling/inflammation to muscles or joints?


  3. Simon Collins

    Hi Mike

    Any symptom that you are worried about is something to talk to your doctor about.

    We are not doctors but research information relating to all aspects of HIV and treatment.

    The swelling you describe sounds too large to be related to lymph nodes, Talk to your doc, take details of when you noticed it, whether it was related to exercise etc.

  4. Mike


    Been + ten months not on meds. I’ve noticed a swelling/fold on either side of the groin area, no bumps just equal swelling about 6-8 inches long. No pain as such just aware of it. Could this be lymph nodes or muscular?



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