Objective: The aim of this work was to study the microscopic patterns of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) lymphadenitis on fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and correlate them with cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) counts. Study Design: A retrospective study of known HIV-positive patients who underwent lymph node FNAC over a period of 5 years (2009-2013) was undertaken. The cytology slides were retrieved and reviewed. Out of 317 cases, 38 (11.7%) were diagnosed as HIV lymphadenitis. We analysed the cytomorphological patterns of HIV lymphadenitis and correlated them with the CD4 cell counts. Results: Smears of HIV lymphadenitis were classified akin to histology patterns (A, B, and C) depending on cellularity, number of tingible body macrophages, mitosis, apoptotic bodies, plasma cells, Warthin-Finkeldey giant cells, and proliferating blood vessels. Thirty-one cases showed pattern A, 3 showed pattern B, and 4 were of pattern C. Pattern A had the highest CD4 cell count. Conclusion: Histologic patterns of HIV lymphadenitis are recognisable on FNAC smears. These can offer a clue to the diagnosis and guide further workup, even in the absence of history. The changes can mimic those of the infective lymphadenitis, Castleman disease, and lymphoma. Hence, the clinical history, serological correlation, and awareness of cytomorphology can aid the correct diagnosis.

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