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Author Topic: Fear of HIV  (Read 465 times)

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Offline Alexac11

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Fear of HIV
« on: February 15, 2014, 08:13:28 AM »
Hi everyone!

I'm so happy to finally have a place to share my overwhelming fear without judgment!

4 weeks ago I was on a mini-break to Eastern Europe. One night I met a man from Belgium and we hit it off, spent the best part of 7 hours chatting and laughing. At the end of the night he kissed me. It lasted for a grand total of 15 seconds and when I felt his tongue in my mouth I broke it away and said goodbye.

That was it. My only "exposure". But from that point on I convinced myself he had HIV and, because I have a bad habit of biting the inside of my mouth, he someone got blood into my mouth and it found it's way into a small bite on my lip and that's it. I have no idea of his status, but no reason to assume he had HIV. He did not appear to have any bleeding sores and I did not notice a taste of blood, yet I'm conceived he somehow had an open weeping wound in his mouth.

Now, as is the way, I've spent hours and hours researching this and no matter how much I read that the risk is so low it pretty much doesn't merit a test, I've convinced myself that Ill be the one exception in the world. I plan to have a test at 6 weeks to put this behind me and seek out some counselling.

The problem I have is that, until that time, I am convinced I have HIV. I've developed a small ulcer in my mouth (have had them before) and am convinced this is a symptom of the HIV developing. Although I can see how completely unlikely this is, the thought won't go away. I've now stopped thinking about the future and started planning what I would say to my friends and family if a positive result came back. I'm giving myself an upset stomach and headaches through sheer anxiety.

Does anyone have any tips on how to deal with this for the next two weeks? Has anyone gone through anything similar to this?

Thank you in advance :D
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Offline scared_ter

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2014, 09:36:25 AM »
You CANNOT catch hiv in that manner.
That's 100% fact. You are fine, no need to worry.
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Offline Hypo84

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2014, 09:50:25 AM »
Mouth ulcer have nothing to do with HIV.

You will be anxiety free after a test, until then, even if he was HIV+ you chances of getting it are extremely low. And since he is probably HIV - your chances are non existent.
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Offline soaringfalcon

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2014, 12:50:08 PM »
You can't get HIV that way. 

I hate it when 1 event that is so remote or not even a possibility ignites stuff like this. 

Hang in there!
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Offline Alexac11

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2014, 01:08:53 PM »
Thank you all for your replies! It helps so much having people reiterating what my 'normal' brain knows.

My rational brain knows how stupid I'm being, but my irrational brain won't let it go. I read that only one person has even been known to get hiv through kissing. That was prolonged, long term deep kissing between two parties that had extensive oral problems including gingivitis. I have none of those things and have done none of those things. As much as I have to remind myself of this, my irrational brain takes over with the 'oooooh but what if...'

I need to take a test for my own sakes, not really to find out the results because my rational brain expects they'd be negative, but to put this behind me and get to my GP and fully explain how debilitating these thoughts are.  It's the waiting that kills me. Especially in work during the day when my mind wanders and the anxiety starts. I've managed to hide how bad it is but it's getting difficult!
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Offline Sunlover

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2014, 04:04:56 PM »

My rational brain knows how stupid I'm being, but my irrational brain won't let it go. I read that only one person has even been known to get hiv through kissing. That was prolonged, long term deep kissing between two parties that had extensive oral problems including gingivitis. I have none of those things and have done none of those things. As much as I have to remind myself of this, my irrational brain takes over with the 'oooooh but what if...'

I can SO relate to that irrational thinking!!  Deep down you know you are being ridiculous but something keeps nudging at you with the "What if's" 
First you have to think that the odds of him being HIV + is very, very low...  then the odds of catching it in that manner?  That lowers the odds to zero really!
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Offline Alexac11

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2014, 04:24:30 PM »
I can SO relate to that irrational thinking!!  Deep down you know you are being ridiculous but something keeps nudging at you with the "What if's" 
First you have to think that the odds of him being HIV + is very, very low...  then the odds of catching it in that manner?  That lowers the odds to zero really!

It makes me angry that I can't seem to control those irrational thoughts!! Whenever I've kind of told me how I feel, I'm usually met with 'well, can't you just stop?' I wish I could!

I do know that the risk is pretty much not there, and any Dr in the world would tell me the same, but I need to see that 'negative' in writing before I'll ever really let go. I really wish the time would pass faster
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Offline Sunlover

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2014, 06:30:16 PM »
A few weeks ago I had myself convinced I had pilomotor seizure disorder - never heard of it, right?   Only 20 people in the world have it and I was swearing I was number 21!   I don't understand how to STOP this kind of thinking!  I do get VERY angry at myself, I'll go so far as to scream at myself (when no one is home) for being so stupid, I'll call myself all kinds of names - sometimes it helps for a while :spineyes:
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Offline Lara71

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2014, 07:03:17 PM »
You can't get HIV like that. I don't know of any cases like that. It comes from unprotected sex and sharing needles. People used to get it through blood transfusions but now the blood is more heavily screened.

HIV is not the death sentence it once was. Retrovirals have made people who are HIV+ live for a long time. They are also very close to finding a cure.
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Offline Alexac11

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2014, 04:59:12 AM »
A few weeks ago I had myself convinced I had pilomotor seizure disorder - never heard of it, right?   Only 20 people in the world have it and I was swearing I was number 21!   I don't understand how to STOP this kind of thinking!  I do get VERY angry at myself, I'll go so far as to scream at myself (when no one is home) for being so stupid, I'll call myself all kinds of names - sometimes it helps for a while :spineyes:

Haha this made me laugh! I know exactly how I feel. As a friendly kindly reminded me when I explained my fears "I mean this in the kindest possible way...you're not that special!"

Thank you everyone :) I do know that the risk is ridiculously low, and I feel bad for feeling like this over it, and it's great having people remind me of that. I just want to see it medically and then I'll be able to move on. The 'what if's' won't stop otherwise.

And when reading about the way HIV is now, they have made leaps and bounds and it's not the scary mystery disease it once was. It's just a world that I don't ever want to be in and, although I didn't really put myself at risk, I can't stop feeling as though I've been thrown into it (by myself really, by reading about it too much). I also don't want to be scared to have normal, harmless interactions with people. I can't demand a HIV negative test every time I so much as kiss someone. I have to be able to recognise a real risk from irrationality :(
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Offline scared_ter

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2014, 06:24:12 AM »
You can't get HIV like that. I don't know of any cases like that. It comes from unprotected sex and sharing needles. People used to get it through blood transfusions but now the blood is more heavily screened.

HIV is not the death sentence it once was. Retrovirals have made people who are HIV+ live for a long time. They are also very close to finding a cure.

Unprotected anal and vaginal sex are the only documented proven risk factors, so wear a condom correctly during those and you are safe.
Not so sure on the cure, while they now feel one will arrive in some form, I dont think its as close as media reports have led its to believe.
But as you say, its now a manageable chronic illness with the right medication, rather than the death sentence it once was.
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Offline Happenstance

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2014, 07:12:16 AM »
You can ONLY contract HIV via:

Unprotected vaginal or anal sex
Direct blood to blood contact
Blood transfusions (VERY VERY VERY rare now in Western nations as blood is screened before being used)

You CANNOT catch it via

Being around someone with it
Toilet seats

If you are REALLY worried take a test with your doctor and put it behind you :)



 
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Offline Alexac11

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2014, 12:06:36 PM »

Unprotected anal and vaginal sex are the only documented proven risk factors, so wear a condom correctly during those and you are safe.
Not so sure on the cure, while they now feel one will arrive in some form, I dont think its as close as media reports have led its to believe.
But as you say, its now a manageable chronic illness with the right medication, rather than the death sentence it once was.

Sharing needles is also a major risk factor. Anything that allows the HIV virus to come into contact with your blood stream in a risk effectively.

Thanks for all the replies :) they're really helping keep things in perspective whilst these two weeks pass. Whenever the fear starts I keep reminding myself 'I have not contracted HIV through a 15 second kiss - I would be a medical anomaly'.

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Offline scared_ter

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2014, 04:09:30 PM »
Sorry I was referred to documented sexual routes of transmission.
IV drug use and blood transfusions are the other risks.
You've had none.
Take care  :P
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Offline rosiela

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Re: Fear of HIV
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2014, 04:49:22 PM »
Just replying to reiterate what everyone else has already said, really - and to let you know you are definitely not alone with the obsessive/irrational thoughts. They are so tough to deal with and I have been going through the exact same thing recently. Nobody seems to get it, and it's tough because no matter how much you KNOW, or how much you tell yourself "I'm fine", that tiny voice of doubt at the back of your mind saying "yes, but this could really be something badů" just doesn't go away.

I have started working through the Health Anxiety workbook (there's a sticky topic at the top of this page) that is pretty useful in helping getting a handle on the actual anxiety.

I know you will feel just fine after the test and when you see for sure you don't have it, just try and hang in there in the meantime, I wish I had an easy answer as to how to just 'stop worrying' (because then I could stop myself!) but sadly I don't, know you are definitely not alone though. :)
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