AIDS Related Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the white blood cells in the lymph system of our body. The lymph system
is part of our immune system and helps fight infections and disease. Lymph fluid is a colorless and watery
that carries white blood cells throughout the body. A person who has AIDS has a
weakened immune system and has a lower ability to fight off infections or serious diseases like cancer.
AIDS related lymphoma is when malignant cancer cells attack the lymph system. AIDS related lymphoma is
known to develop and spread rapidly throughout the body. Lymphomas are divided into two different classes.
There is Hodgkin’s lymphoma and nonHodgkin’s lymphoma. Both are likely to appear in AIDS patients but
nonHodgkin’s lymphoma is the most common. Because it is common, it is called AIDS-related lymphoma.
Lymph nodes are small structures shaped like a bean that filter substances found in the body and help fight
against disease and infection. They are found along the lymph vessel network and can be found under the arm,
in the neck, abdomen, groin, and pelvic area. The spleen is an essential part of this system as it filters
blood, stores blood cells, and gets rid of old blood cells.
Did You Know?
Since 1981 when the HIV and Aids was first recognized as something new in the
medical world, researchers and scientists have been working to learn as much about the new disease
as possible. So far they have determined the virus is spread by contact with another contaminated
person’s body fluids. This could be through contact with blood, semen, and vaginal fluids.
Once the body has the HIV virus it begins to produce more HIV particles and these
begin attacking the T-cells. The T-cells or CD4 cells burst and that allows the virus to enter the
bloodstream and invade other cells. You should already know the difference between HIV and AIDS.
HIV is a subgroup of retroviruses that cause AIDS. The virus kills cells in the body’s immune
system and progressively destroys the body’s ability to fight infections.
This inability to fight off infections also affects some cancers too. HIV gradually
gets worse until the body is no longer able to fight off the infections and other bacteria that
would normally not make people sick. These opportunistic infections will attack the body and could
be potentially life threatening.
AIDS is the acronym for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It was first recognized
in New York City in 1981. The virus was isolated and identified in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1985
that a diagnostic test was developed to test for the disease.
A patient who is suffering from an unexplained fever, weight loss, night sweats, or swelling in the lymph nodes
may have AIDS-related lymphoma. A patient may also suffer from a feeling of fullness below the ribs. If
you are experiencing any of these known symptoms, you should contact your doctor and seek medical care
Tests and procedures that are used to detect AIDS-related lymphoma can include a physical exam. The doctor
will look for lumps or other unusual physical signs that seems unusual. The doctor will discuss past health
problems, physical habits, and other treatments you may have received. The doctor will also want a blood work
up called CBC (complete blood count.) A sample of blood will be drawn and will be tested for red and white
blood cells, and platelets in the blood. It also will check for hemoglobin levels.
If the doctor finds something suspicious in either the blood count or physical exam, they may order a lymph node
biopsy. Part or an entire lymph node will be removed and a pathologist will view the sample for cancer
cells. A bone marrow biopsy may also be ordered so a pathologist can look at the sample under a microscope
for signs of cancer cells.
The best way to avoid HIV aids is to avoid taking part in risky behavior, so make sure to not
have unprotected sex and make sure to use sterilized needles for injections.
If cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes or through the lymph system, further tests need to be
completed to see how far the disease has spread through the body. This will allow the doctor to decide what
stage the cancer is in and lay out the best treatment plan for that stage. The treatment for AIDS-related
lymphoma is closely tied to treatment that is treating the patient for AIDS. If you are an AIDS patient, you
may want to consider getting into a clinical trial program for AIDS-related lymphoma.