Email 274: Unnecessary Fears About HIV

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 6:34 PM

Hi Pozziepinoy.

I was reading all the blogs of different stories of people that is hiv positive. I am 19 and really aware of HIV and STD, but my problem is I'm having health anxiety that I cant stop thinking about hiv and how will it affect my life. 

Last December and still right now I'm having multiple symptoms of HIV, like rashes, sore throat colds and more. I know myself that I have very low risk of having hiv because I always use condom, but I'm still worrying because HIV can pass through oral sex too so it made me depressed every time thinking about HIV. 

Last December I got tested twice, the first tet is 12/12/12 and I'm negative but when I moved to Honolulu from Kauai for school last December 18, I had this multiple symptoms and I'm so worried and I went to get tested last 12/31/12 and came back negative .

Right now I never had sex for a month and I only done kissing but still I have this weird feelings. I also went to the doctor and he said I'm all good. Do you know how can I surpass my depression? I am planning to get tested again on march since I always get tested. And one more thing since October I had 5 sexually partners and I used condoms.




Thank you for your email and for reading this blog.

If you are someone who feels they are at risk of possible exposure to HIV then there is nothing wrong with having a healthy worry about the risks of transmission. It is likely that you either worry about exposure due to your personal lifestyle such as engaging in unprotected sex, sharing needles if you’re an injecting drug user, or because you are exposed to blood through the nature of your job.
However, as far as I can tell from your email, you have never had unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse and you are not sharing needles or exposed to blood through the nature of your job.  The main concern with you seems to be the risk of transmission through oral sex.  The risk of transmission through oral sex is minimal.  There are only a few documented cases of it occurring.   Unless you have mouth ulcers and bleeding gums then the chances of HIV transmission via this route are almost nonexistent.  If you wish to be ultra certain, then use a non lubricated, possibly flavored condom during receptive oral sex.

The symptoms you’ve described are pretty general in nature and also symptomatic of stress and anxiety.  Chronic stress itself, leads to decreased immune function and increased risk of infection and decreased ability to fight infection or repair tissue.  This can result in skin rashes and flue like symptoms, amongst other things.  

It isn’t uncommon to be afraid and scared of being infected with HIV/AIDS.  With some it can become a totally debilitating form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that completely takes over and controls a person’s life.   You’re behavior is possibly indicating that you may be developing OCD.  You need to be aware of this to prevent it from developing into something totally debilitating.  The facts are these: you’ve already undergone 2 HIV tests within the space of one month.  Both were negative.  The second one was totally unnecessary as there is, generally, a 3-6 month window period post initial infection before antibodies to HIV are detectable in the blood stream.  If your next HIV test in March indicates you are still negative and you have continued to practice safer sex during that period, then, rationally speaking, you can rest assured you’re HIV-.  

Please read this following post on HIV transmission.  It summarizes safer sex practices for a variety of sexual activities.  If after reading this you conclude that you are practicing safer sex, but still remain unconvinced about your HIV status, you may then need to speak to your Medical Doctor about it to prevent your developing OCD.  Being concerned is one thing, having irrational fears is something totally different.

I hope you have found this answer useful.


Get tested, stay healthy and, if you’re on ARV, compliant with your ARV regimen.

Malcolm Brown
International Contributor

NO PLHIV is alone with his or her struggle with HIV!"


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