ZocdocAnswersDo people with HIV have night sweats?

Question

Do people with HIV have night sweats?

How can people with HIV deal with night sweats? I've been HIV positive for several years and frankly the night sweats are one of the most frustrating and difficult problems I face. Is there a treatment that can make them stop, or at least help me sleep through them more easily?

Answer

Sleep hyperhidrosis (night sweats) can be a very frustrating and uncomfortable symptom. As you well know, it can result in the need to change the sheets sometimes multiple times during a night. They are caused by an improper activation of the autonomic nervous system while sleeping which results in sweating. In general, sleep hyperhidrosis is treated by finding the underlying causes and removing it or treating it. In your case, the first step would be more adequate treatment of your HIV. Other causes of night sweats are infections such as tuberculosis and malignancies such as lymphoma. I think the next step is for you to schedule another appointment (if you don't have one soon) with the physician who treats your HIV. If your HIV is not adequately treated, then the two of you can focus on a more optimal antiretroviral combination. If you've crossed that bridge, then you should begin looking for other causes of the night sweats such as lymphoma or tuberculosis. Once that bridge is crossed, and there are no other possible causes of these sweats, then you should focus exclusively on symptom control. This may include sleeping in a colder room without blankets, taking a cold shower before bed etc. Good luck.

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