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Anxiety About HIV Exposure (or rather, NON-EXPOSURE)

I know that my risk for acquiring HIV was not even a low risk, it was no risk.

Despite reassurances from the doctors and moderators on this forum AND a HIV counselor I still cannot shake this feeling of worry and anxiety. I'm currently seeing a therapist and she is trying to frame my irrational fear of acquiring HIV in a different light. Rather than looking at it as a single event or exposure, to look at it as a cycle of me punishing myself for low/no risk encounters as if they were high risk encounters.

Why am I doing this? I'm not sure, yet. Perhaps I will never know. I do know that this year has been the most difficult one for me in a long time, emotionally and psychologically. I ended an eight year relationship and have been depressed and feeling guilty about it.

To be specific, the event that is the focus of my current anxiety is a mutual masturbation encounter I had with a woman through Craigslist. Despite reassurances from people who know WAY more about HIV and transmission that this was NO RISK, I still find myself going through the whole 'what if' scenario. I know, totally stupid and pointless.  I even contacted her after the event and she told me that she had tested negative for HIV a month ago. She's had partners since then but said that they were all protected. Thus, the chances she even had HIV to begin with are tiny tiny tiny tiny. Not even worth thinking about. That combined with the fact that mutual masturbation is NO RISK (and yes, I imagined all types of what-ifs including, what if I had a cut on my finger that I didn't notice..) still guess what, NO RISK.

To that end I'm no longer navigating to the HIV Expert or Community forums on this site. I think that focusing my energies on dealing with my OCD/Anxiety/Depression is much more productive.

Has anyone else dealt with similar issues? If so, did you have success in managing your anxiety?

I'd like to avoid medication as this isn't a persistent issue.. Yes, it's quite strong right now and lasting days, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
4 Responses
370181 tn?1428180348
You have been told, over and over, that you NEVER had a risk and that is the absolute truth.
All of your "what if" concerns means you have HIV Anxiety and it's good that you're in therapy to deal with this issue. I don't know how long you've been in therapy, but if you still feel the need to post to an anxiety forum, then perhaps this therapist is not the one for you.
While this IS an Anxiety Forum, we do not "specialize" in HIV anxiety. And while you say it may be better for you to deal with your OCD/anxiety/depression issues, it's my humble and non-medical opinion that the root cause of those issues is HIV. I strongly believe you would be better served by going to our HIV Anxiety Group where you will get accurate information regarding the transmission of HIV and your "what if" quesitons can be answered with authority. Here is the link and I wish you peace.

Avatar universal
Thanks. I'll post to the HIV Anxiety forum. I think the therapy is helping..I've only been in therapy for a month and a half. I know it's not a miracle cure and takes time.
370181 tn?1428180348
I think you will be very pleased with the help and support you receive from joggen and the other posters in his group.
Keep up with the therapy if you believe it's helping. It CAN be a long journey, but one so worth the effort. And don't be so sure it's not a miracle cure. There are many, many people on this forum who feel they have a life long debt to their therapists.
I think it's important to also remember that we get out what we put in. Being in therapy is being part of a team. Your therapist can't heal you without your help.
I wish the best in the HIV group!
You're gonna beat this, ya know!
Avatar universal
Thanks. I know I'll feel good soon. I think I'm just in a down-feeling period right now and my anxiety is just focused on this. I've been here before and emerged all smiles.
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Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1428180348
Arlington, WA
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