Q. My lymph nodes are hard and enlarged, and I am HIV positive. Should I be concerned?

Answered by
Dr. Mohammad Emranul Islam
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 13, 2021

Hello doctor,

My lymph nodes are hard and enlarged. I can move them and can pull them. Some of them are about the same diameter as my thumb. I had two even larger ones removed (benign) when I was 16, and I am HIV positive. HIV positive is a risk factor for lymphoma. I do not have pain.

Should I be concerned?



Welcome to

I am sorry for the problems you have.

Lymph nodes are distributed elsewhere in the body. They are some castles of white cells or defense cells. When there is an exposure to germs, or there is an infection, the lymph nodes start working and get enlarged in response. They usually can be found enlarged, especially our neck nodes. But it is essential to assess some properties of the nodes. If the nodes are excessively larger, the shape oval has changed. If it is hard, not mobile, not tender, then you should take it seriously. There may be any tumor in the relation. It is difficult to comment without examination. So please examine your lymph nodes carefully and send me the details of them. You can also send me the pictures of the nodes during palpation. Thus I can help you further with the diagnosis.

Thank you for contacting us.

Hello doctor,

Thank you so much for your detailed reply.

These are the characteristics:

- Cylinder shaped.

- 2 to 3 cm in length.

- Hard and easy to move.

- No pain.

- No changes in shape.

- The minimum size is 2 to 3 cm for the past 20 years.

The ones that were removed many years before were about 5 to 6 cm in size and located in front of my ear. The specialist at that time was very worried and said I should keep an eye on my lymph nodes and for any cysts around that area. I cannot visit that specialist because he is retired and moved to another part of the world.

They are not visible in a photo.

I understand it is hard to give a diagnosis without seeing the patient. I am trying to decide whether I should visit my local specialist.

Thanks again.



Welcome back to

Thank you. If the size is within 3 cm and it is mobile, then there is no worry. But still, I would advise you to have a check-up once a year or in two years.

If you have any other queries, please let me know.

Thank you again.

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