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Dealing with anxiety regarding hiv

Hello everyone,

I've been dealing with anxiety regarding hiv for a few weeks now and I could use some support, because I just can't calm myself down. I think the reason for my anxiety is, that I started to date my ex-boyfriend again who cheated on me several times during our relationship (and sometimes he didn't even use protection). He lives a promiscuous lifestyle which isn't bad at all, but knowing that he used to sleep with women he barely knew and didn't use protection makes me very anxious. Unfortunately I still have feelings for him. At the same time I'm feeling so guilty and stupid. We met a few times now during the past months, we kissed and I gave him handjobs. Nothing else happened, but I started to develop this huge anxiety regarding hiv. Sometimes I think that I must be punished somehow for being so stupid and giving him a chance again and that I deserve to get hiv. So in the past few weeks I've been constantly worrying about no-risk-scenarios like kissing or giving a handjob, although I don't even have an evidence, that he is indeed hiv positive. In my head I simply assume it because of his previous promiscuous lifestyle. I spend my days looking for symptoms and everytime I notice something strange on my body I totally freak out. I already did a few hiv tests which always were negative, but as I am still seeing him there is always something new to worry about. At the moment I'm worrying about giving him a handjob whilst having a wound on my thumb 2 weeks ago. I already talked about it in the hiv prevention section of this forum.
Is there anyone here who also suffers from hiv related anxiety? Or is there maybe even someone who managed to overcome this anxiety?
Every advice is greatly appreciated!
Best Answer
207091 tn?1337709493
It's concerning that you think illnesses are some kind of karmic punishment, and that you deserve one for having feelings.

STIs, including HIV, are the same as any other pathogen, and they just do their biological thing, and reproduce and spread. They act just like strep throat, covid, the flu, etc. They aren't moral or karmic statements, they aren't capable of determining someone's worth, and have no ability to determine if you are making good life decisions.

Your issue isn't HIV, necessarily, but that you think you deserve something bad bad because you are making bad decisions. HIV is the way that's manifesting.

Right now, you have feelings for a guy who might not be the best guy for you, and maybe low self-esteem. As specialmom has said, working with a counselor and a psychologist would be a great idea.
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973741 tn?1342342773
This forum is NOT for discussing HIV risks and I'd assume that you have already talked about it on the prevention forum. THIS forum is strictly for anxiety.

How to deal with thought anxiety, health concern anxiety. One thing is acknowledging that you have it. There are strategies to implement. First, coping strategies. DBT therapy (you can search it as you don't need a therapist to begin using the techniques) are excellent. Resetting when in a thought spiral by vigorous exercise, splashing water on your face, etc. Mindfulness. Meditation. Positive psychology. Reframing. Breath work. Then ERP strategies for the intrusive thoughts. Which means . . . just having thoughts like everyone else does but not paying that much attention to them. You were apprised of risks of HIV. So now, just look at thoughts that pop into your head that aren't those risks as JUST thoughts. Like "I wonder if that ant has feelings" or "she hates me" when she didnt call you immediately. Just thoughts like a million random things that go through your head. You just sit with them. And then do NOT try to solve them. Don't research. Don't ask for reassurance. Don't analyze it. Just be uncomfortable and then distract yourself after awhile. This makes the thought eventually go away. EVERY time you ask for reassurance, you make the anxiety worse.
Helpful - 2
Working with a psychologist and considering something like an SSRI medication may be best too
Avatar universal
I think I Trump everyone with HIV anxiety. 11 years after giving a blow job and convinced I was developing fully blown AIDS I finally plucked up the nerve (today) to test and it came back negative. I thought there was no chance of it being negative and was wondering hiw I would tell my family. I'd already wasted 6 years of my 20s convinced I had it as well. It is horrendous and because symptoms are so vague the 'what if' question always lingers. Make sure you always protect yourself for intercourse and you will be fine. HIV anxiety feels so bad because you think you have it and will spread it to others.
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