OCD and Fear of HIV
by Jozie77, Mar 06, 2008
Hi All
I am so pleased that I have found this forum, as I feel quite alone and have no-one really to chat to about what I go through except my therapist, but often I think that she is just appeasing me.

My story is that I think that I have had ocd in some form or another for most of my life.  When I was a teenager I suffered from anorexia, which I have heard is a form or an expression of ocd.  And I have always basically been paranoid and very much always assuming the worst.

The latest obsession that I have is HIV.  I had protected sex with a friend of mine over a year ago and am completely convinced that I have now been infected with HIV.  The friend has reassured me time and time again that he is negative and plus we used protection.  But everynow and then my ocd flares up and nothing that anyone says can convince me otherwise.  The friend thinks that I am a complete lunatic and we hardly speak to each other anymore as a result of all this.

This isn't the first time I have thought I have had HIV, in the past I have worried about this and despite negative tests I still remained convinced that I have HIV.

Is there anyone out there who can relate to me?  I would love to hear from you.

Please if you are going to tell me to just have an hiv test, don't respond as even though I know is is the most rational thing to do, I can't.

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Member Comments (272)
by RedSoxFan07, Mar 07, 2008
I can totally related to what you are going through.  I am there right now.  I am struggling with a one time low risk activity and my OCD is driving me crazy.   I have been going through episodes like this for 15 + years.   I have really good times and really bad times.  HIV worrying has been the focus of it over the past three.   I feel your pain.  Believe me.  
by Jozie77, Mar 12, 2008
It is so nice to know that I am not alone and not a lunatic as well.  I am sorry though that you have to go through it, it is terrible.

I just hate the fact that my mind can't stop imagining the worst case scenario's.  The last 4 or 5 years for me have always been about HIV.  Anytime something happens or there is change in my life my OCD flares up and I almost getting paralysed with fear.
by RedSoxFan07, Mar 12, 2008
Have you tried and type of relaxation CD's?   I have been using this one that has really helped.  I dont have it with me or I would give you the name.   It goes through the process of relaxing and getting the unwanted thoughts out of your head.   The more you try to not think about something the more you do.  You need to learn how to relax when these episodes happen and realize it only negative thoughts.  I know its not that easy and I know they can control you.  I have not by any means perfected this process and more times than not I fall into the OCD, but it does help.  

Just like myself when anxiety or stress enter your life your OCD kicks up.  I have the same issues with HIV.  Except I get tested.  Last year I probably got 4 tests.  Well I hope I am some help to you.  Feel free to keep in contact.
by Jozie77, Mar 13, 2008
Well you are a lot braver than me - at least you get tested.  I am too scared.  Even though the sex was protected and the guy promises and swears on his life that he is negative I am convinced that I am positive.

It is crazy I know all about hiv and what a fragile virus it is etc etc and I love to discuss it.  

I did get tested before this incident, but even then I still don't fully trust the results - is this how you feel?
by blink1147, Mar 15, 2008
wow i love this site! o knew i would be able to relate to the people on here, but this is incredible. Probably my second cause of panic since I first developed OCD was that I had hiv and whenever i would feel the slightest discomfort i would freak out. Does anyone else worry about heart attacks, cancer, botulism, meningitis, or that there is some form of toxic substance in everything they come in contact with? Not just germs, I'm talking botulism, cocaine, acid, the powerful stuff. But thanx everyone, just knowing that it's normal to be so terrified of this makes me feel more safe.
by Jozie77, Mar 17, 2008
I know what you mean, when I am not focusing on HIV I am convinced I have cervical cancer or something else equally as horrible.

I even sometimes think that I have had sex with someone when in reality I know that I haven't - crazy hey?

I also find it helpful to know others out there like me.

Do you have any hiv tests?
by stressball, Apr 02, 2008
I totally understand and EMPATHIZE with all of you.  I have been struggling with this for about 5 years.  Had a risky (well in my insane analytical opinion) experience with a guy.  Got sick afterword...I mean...weird sick.  Vaginal ulcers, fever, etc.  They tested me for everything...herpes, syphillis, EVERYTHING.  EVERYTHING was negative.  Never got an answer for what it was, even after multiple doctors and tests.  Convinced myself it was HIV.  Have had (over the past 5 years) 5 negative HIV tests and still can't let it go.  What the HECK is wrong with me?????  Convinced myself I had a rare form that couldn't be identified by current testing (but, is only ever found in West Africans) ridiculous huh?  I have my wedding coming up in 6 months and am so scared I'm not going to be able to enjoy it.

by ajf00529, Apr 02, 2008
I hear you. I had a similar experience where I had protected sex with a girl and I worried about it for a year, despite three negative tests. I kept thinking that maybe the lab made a mistake or whatever. Now recently the OCD has been flairing up again. I can't even shake peoples hands or touch doorknobs without thinking about it. The other day I was doing a project for school that invovlved interviewing people. So I talk to this homeless looking guy and he hands me is newspaper so he could fill out a interview sheet for me. Ever since I have been terrified that there might have been blood on the paper and it might have gotten in a cut. At this point everyone thinks im nuts and even im starting to think that. I would love to talk to somebody about this so feel free
by Crosby12345, Apr 03, 2008
Everyone who has posted in this forum thus far needs to RELAX.  I can totally empathize with all of you as I too suffer from this seemingly debilitating mental disorder but understand that you DON'T have HIV; you have OCD.

First of all, HIV is EXTREMELY difficult to contract.  Unless you're having daily encounters with prostitutes and using IV drugs, you're 99.999% fine.  If the situations that you have all described were likely paths of transmission, every college campus in America would be completely full of HIV+ students.  Be safe, but don't fret.

Secondly, I understand how these crazy, irrational thoughts defy logic and become very convincing.  I suffer from OCD, and my worry is also HIV despite the fact that I have never taken part in any sort of risky activity.  Touching doorknobs, lifting weights, and using public computers are just three of the various daily activities that have consumed my mind with the thought that I've contracted HIV.  Part of me understands that this notion is absolutely absurd, but the OCD can finds of justifying these irrational truths into my mind.

I have battled this paranoia for a nearly a year now, and I have seen noticeable improvements.  I have tried several meds (SSRI's) but found them to be detrimental by actually exaggerating my OCD thoughts.  I have discovered solace in making sure I'm well rested, seeking therapy and educating myself about HIV transmission routes.

PLEASE realize that you are not the only one suffering from these thoughts.  You need to force yourself to fulfill an enjoyable and typical lifestyle; do not change it because you have a false notion that you have HIV and that you may spread it to someone else.  YOU ARE FINE, just like the majority of your friends, family, etc..  It is when you discontinue these activities and dwell more, that OCD garners more momentum.  That is the fuel to its fire.

You can't go through life with a certain craze because everything we do involves some sort of risk.  I'm continually telling myself that the chances of getting killed in a car wreck are 1000000 more plausible than the chance of contracting HIV through doorknobs, weights, etc.

I know this may seem very frightening but take a deep breath and realize that you're not alone.  You have OCD and nobody is going to get sick from it.  I understand how awful these thoughts can be though and I am willing to answer questions that you may have.  I am simply a law student and thus obviously am far less knowledgeable than a therapist or counselor, but I have spent a lot of time studying and becoming acclimated with the symptoms of OCD (specifically in dealing with HIV).  Enjoy life, you may get hit by lightening tomorrow ;-)