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Old 05-22-2012, 12:10 AM   #1
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Unhappy HIV fear

Hello all. I just want to say I did read the sticky about sexual topics however this seems like it would be permitted.

I have an extreme fear of HIV. I'll start by saying I am a virgin. Never have I had sex. It started about 3 years ago and I've had a big battle with it up until last year. I have been on different medications and whatnot since this is not the only issue I have dealing with anxiety and I have seen different counselors as well.

A little over a month ago I had the fear of HIV come back to me. I felt like I had caught it at work however I talked myself out of it in about a day by telling myself HIV doesn't survive in the air. About two weeks later I went to a friends house. I had been chewing the inside of my mouth for the past week or so due to anxiety. While him and I were talking on the couch, I feel like he MIGHT have spit a tiny bit and it landed in my mouth on a part where I'd been chewing. When I got home, I checked in the mirror and I could see a TINY little spot where it might have been open before but it wasn't like I had a big open cut.

Ever since then I have been obsessing over the fact that I could have caught HIV. There are so many "what ifs" right now. I don't have any reason to believe that he has HIV, he might not have even spit in my mouth, etc. I think the only reason I am thinking this way is because his lips looked a little red and cracked so I feel that his saliva could've had traces of blood. I am freaking out so bad and it's consuming me. I'm still functioning at work and with friends but on the inside it's driving me insane. I had a sore throat for a week and I am trying to tell myself it is just my seasonal allergies since it went away and I've been clearing my throat a lot lately. I'm also getting really hot on my face and ears kind of like a hot flash sort of. This is something that has happened to me since I was younger and I'm assuming it is allergies. I keep Googling which is the worst thing to do and HIV is always listed when I look up causes of sore throats and male hot flashes.

The worst part is that a week before this happened I was laughing at myself for having the fear of HIV like I used to. Now it's back and I'm so so scared

I apologize for the long post but I am really in need of some support right now. I am getting in with a new counselor within the next few weeks and I'm going to see if I'll have to start on medication as well. As much as I'd hate to (I had a bad experience with them before) it may have to be done. Thanks for reading...

 
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:43 PM   #2
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Re: HIV fear

Hope this find's you feeling a little better ! You don't have HIV !!! I had the same issue when I was around 18 ... I was also a virgin . I had a fear of it for about 7 year's on and off everytime I got sick or even a zit on my face would send me into a panic ! I know work in a hospital so it does get better !

 
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koocachoo (06-23-2012)
Old 06-23-2012, 01:58 AM   #3
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Re: HIV fear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Watersports View Post
Hope this find's you feeling a little better ! You don't have HIV !!! I had the same issue when I was around 18 ... I was also a virgin . I had a fear of it for about 7 year's on and off everytime I got sick or even a zit on my face would send me into a panic ! I know work in a hospital so it does get better !
I really appreciate the response! Sorry I took a few days to get back to you... Anyways how did you end up getting over it? Do you have any methods that helped you cope when you would "flare up" so to speak? Ive had the thoughts before so I know they'll go away.... It's just hard to imagine that they'll ever go away when I'm going through this. Part of my brain tells me one thing and the other part says another :-(

 
Old 06-24-2012, 12:54 PM   #4
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Re: HIV fear

Hey ! It sound's crazy but I got a HIV test every year for like 6 year's ... I just moved on to a different thing to worry about . Everything I saw on TV seemed to be a warning sign for me ... HIV commerical movies you name it . It took me year's to get over it ! It really did ! It's a one day at a time thing lol It will get better . Try to keep busy easier said than done I know .

 
Old 06-24-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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Re: HIV fear

Hello,

I just want to let you know that you are not alone. I also worry about catching something. I don't just worry about HIV though. I worry about catching any incurable disease because I may accidently give it to my family if I do.

I never noticed this problem being too much in my mind until I started working in the medical department for a company. Some of my jobs required me to clean and count towels. Both of these offered the potential for exposure to something. That still didn't start me into worrying. I always wore gloves doing these jobs and felt I was pretty safe. It wasn't until I started really doing indepth cleaning where I was tearing apart beds and emptying cupboards that I was hit with the problem. When I started doing this I started noticing areas where dried blood had been left. I knew I had touched some of these areas with my bare hands.

Like you did, I started researching online and checking out how dangerous touching dried blood can be. I know my hands regularly had cuts and scrapes on them from cleaning and I was terrified one of these came into contact with the dried blood. It was driving me crazy. The first thing I would do when I walked into the department was inspect the door handles. I wouldn't touch them if I thought there was blood on them. I would then go on a mini cleaning spree and disinfect the door handles to the rooms, my computer, the desk, and my chair handles. Anything that someone might have touched that wasn't as careful as I was might have transferred germs to something that I would need to use. At least that was my thought.

I would like to say that it got better. It didn't while I was there. I don't know if it ever would have been possible for it to get better for me in that environment. Everytime I would even start to let my guard down, I would find blood on something else. The thing that helped me was finding another job.

I still worry about blood. I still am very careful if I get cut or anything because there is always a question sitting in the back of my mind saying that I can't afford to let my guard down. What if I caught something all those years ago? No, I didn't go to the doctor and get tested. I think more out of fear than anything. I know that logically it has been eight years since I worked at that job and if I had caught anything I would be showing symptoms by now. It doesn't make the fear go completely away.

I know a lot of people recommend seeing a therapist or counselor. I honestly don't know if that is something I can do. I can talk here on these boards and on others but, I don't know if I can tell a therapist what I worry about. I know you said you are going to see a counselor. Don't be afraid to bring up the OCD. Tell him/her what you are worried about. If you feel they are not listening find someone else. There are sites on the internet where you can find couselors that specialize in OCD. Maybe one these is who you need to check into instead of going to one that treats all kinds of problems.

When it comes to sore throats, there are tons of causes. You said you are clearing your throat alot, this can cause it to be sore. It is kind of a cycle where you notice your throat is starting to get sore and start clearing it more often and then that causes it to become even worse.

You also said something about having hot flashes. Just because you have hot flashes does not mean you have HIV. I get them regularly and I notice they are worse when I am worrying the most. When I am distracted, they aren't as bad. Have you ever checked your blood pressure when you are having one of these hot flashes? It may be spiking because you are worrying.

One thing to remember and it is one thing that I try to keep in mind. You can look symptoms up online and find horrible diseases that they match with. That doesn't mean that is what you have. If this research makes it worse, stop looking up your symptoms. That is what I had to do and I think out of everything, that helped me the most.

Keep telling yourself that you faced this problem before and got through it. You were even able to laugh about it. If you can do it once, you can do it again.

 
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koocachoo (06-24-2012)
Old 06-24-2012, 09:02 PM   #6
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Re: HIV fear

JL3, thank you so much for posting. I'm actually kind of smiling now after reading your post. I had my first session with the new counselor and I didn't seem to "click" with her. I have another appointment on Tuesday so I will try and see if we can get further. It's hard for me to talk to people about it. I feel like I was able to talk to my old counselor about it because I had known her for a longer period of time. I also feel like counselors may think that I'm just another client with a silly problem and they don't genuinely care. I wish I could talk to my friends about it but I feel as though it would be very difficult.

I'm already looking back and realizing the "hot flashes" were silly. The only other thing is the sore throat I had. That's what keeps coming back to mind. I know it was probably allergies, but because I only had a sore throat and nothing else I feel like it couldn't have been. Half my brain seems to think logically and the other half says, "No! You must believe _______!"

It's encouraging when I think about how I overcame this before. It's still easier than done to just try and convince myself. I can sit here and say to myself that since I've never had sex, there's a bigger chance of me turning into a frog than catching it twice (referring to the first time I had this problem). I also wish it were easier to take my own advice!

Thanks again for your reply :-)

Last edited by koocachoo; 06-24-2012 at 09:03 PM.

 
Old 06-25-2012, 02:20 AM   #7
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Re: HIV fear

I am glad if anything I said helped.

I think sometimes the older fears are the easiest ones to pop back up. I know that when a stray thought will bring one up for me, I dwell on it more than I would a different thought. I don't even think it is the worry about catching something for me but the fact that I am scared of sinking into old fears again. It feels like a neverending cycle at times.

It is good that you are trying to see someone and talk to them. Just don't be afraid to seek someone else out if you think the current person isn't listening or doesn't understand. There are tons of people out there that specialize in OCD and know where you are coming from. You just have to find the right person.

As for talking to a friend or someone, that can be hard. You are opening yourself up with the hope that they understand and it doesn't always happen. I know that I have tried to talk to my family about it but, it is mainly a running joke in my house. I have even sat down and tried to tell my Mom how bad I am affected at times. I have been told that it is my brain and I should be able to control it. It is hard to explain to someone that has never suffered that it isn't so easy to control. That is why it is called obsessive. If you decide to talk to someone start out slowly by just telling them you have OCD. If they ask what it is give them a brief description. You don't have to go into tons of details. Kind of feel out how to procede by the way they respond to you.

As for the sore throat, that is probably allergies. I get them regularly. Sometimes you don't even notice having them all that much. You may still have slight drainage though. I also get sore throats if I have a ceiling fan blowing on me at night. My throat gets dried out and then the soreness starts. The good thing is that yours has went away. It isn't something that never healed. If you get another one think about what time of year it is. Are you congested? Have you had wind blowing in your face (like your window down in your car)? Have you been around someone else who has been sick? There are so many causes of a sore throat that I wouldn't worry about HIV.

I will say that gargling with salt water helps make a sore throat feel better and heal faster. I use that remedy all the time. Another thing to think about when you have allergies is whether you are drinking milk, eating ice cream, etc. Dairy products tend to make any congestion worse. The added drainage can then make your sore throat worse.

Just keep focusing on the positive and telling yourself you can get through this again. For me, it gets easier everytime because I have the knowledge that I got through it before.

 
Old 06-25-2012, 11:02 AM   #8
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Re: HIV fear

I think the problem I had with the counselor was that she almost seemed like what I was saying shouldn't be a big deal. Then again, that may be her approach. ITs so hard to get into new doctors and counselors here. They're always so booked!

I've definitely talked to my mother about it. She knows about most of what I've been going through. The only thing is it can be difficult for her to understand. I suppose that makes sense seeing as she hasn't gone through it herself...

The sore throat has actually been gone. It took exactly one week. I still did have a lot of "junk" in my throat for a while, though. I was thinking it was post nasal drip. When I got the sore throat, I fell asleep on the couch. There was a shirt soaking in bleach in the next room so I thought maybe that wouldve caused it. Then I thought that didn't make sense since it lasted for a week. I started googling sore throats whataya know! HIV pops up.

Anyways reading these messages does sort of bring a sense of comfort. I'm mainly trying to shift my mind elsewhere as soon as the thought pops up. I read that that is a good strategy. I don't think this will go away until my brain fixates on something else. It seems to always be the case

 
Old 07-02-2012, 01:04 PM   #9
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Re: HIV fear

Hi there. You are not alone in your fear of catching HIV. I went through a very long stage where I feared it to the point I made myself sick. I would think I caught it if I stepped on a drop of dried blood on a sidewalk, WITH shoes on. I was like the previous poster, I would get tests yearly, if not more frequently. I would obsess and second guess every encounter or "incident" I ever had. My advice to you (and I apologize if I am repeating, I did not read all the responses) is to educate yourself on how HIV is transmitted. I read somewhere that someone can actually have unprotected sex with an HIV positive person and still not get the virus. Now, I am not at all advocating unprotected sex, but it shows how NOT easy it is to get HIV. If you are a virgin and you do not use needles for drugs, I would say it is nearly impossible for you to get HIV. The virus does not survive long outside of the body. So, let's say you put your hand on a door handle and notice there is some dried blood there, you will NOT get HIV from this, even though you are touching blood. The virus would just not be there. I am rambling...my point is, research (and try to find reputable resources) and educate yourself and I assure you that your knowledge on the subject will make it easier for you to move on and live a life where you do not fear HIV.

 
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