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Does health anxiety ever go away?

About a year ago, I had unprotected sex with a woman I don't know.
Since that day, I was worried about various diseases, especially HIV.

Did many tests, all results are negative. Doctors and internet told me I could just forget about the incident. Medhelp users gave me detailed answers too. https://medhelp.org/posts/HIV-Prevention/Is-there-a-chance-that-my-body-did-not-produce-HIV-antibodies/show/3065225#post_14556747

My anxiety disappeared after first negative test result. It came back after I got Molluscums(bumps) on my arm about 8th month after sex. Because HIV patients tend to have Molluscums, I started worrying since that day. Did two more different tests, both were negative.

Rational part of my brain knows that everything is OK. But sometimes, HIV thinking comes back.

If I sum it up, during the whole day, for about 10% of time, I'm worried. But this is background kinda worrying. I seem alright on the outside.

Before the incident, I was living normal, easy life. My only challenge was my education or career, both of them are under my control and everything is going well. This one thing bugs me and keeps spoiling my mood for last 3 months.
Anxiety was MUCH more severe 2-3 months ago but still..

Have you had similar experience? Will it ever go away? I don't want to take any meds. That would is my last resort.
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Avatar universal
Don't worry about meds.  You don't need them.  You sound like you'll never need them.  They're for serious problems, and as you say, you're fine most of the time.  Basically when you have one thing that gets to you even when you've eliminated the concern you have a phobia.  Almost everyone has a phobia or two, so it's no big deal really.  It's only a big deal when it gets in the way of your life.  Given you're having a minor problem, what you're doing, if the relief lasts and keeps getting less, will actually lead to being a cure as eventually your brain will learn not to be afraid of this anymore.  But a therapist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety might speed it along if it's a good therapist and you click with her.  I think you're handling this well, as you've found things that ease your mind.  If you ease it long enough, again, the anxiety will go away.  Meds are never a cure, but stopping thinking about it is.  How you get there is up to you, but again, don't worry about meds, you're in no way near having a bad enough time to add that to you worries.  You do want to get over this, though, because sex is fun and you don't want to make it not fun.  And when you do successfully put it behind you, you'll be that much stronger.  Peace.
Helpful - 0
973741 tn?1342342773
Well, we don't give any sort of HIV advice here as you were already informed about that.  

That you have been informed that HIV is not a concern and you've completely over tested to keep making that point to yourself, you are left dealing with common health anxiety. You may not want to take medication for anxiety but that is not the only way to treat it (although it is something some need to do).  

But talking to a therapist would then be the best answer.  They can work through this irrational fear you are having so that you don't keep ruminating and testing and asking and wondering and worrying!  

Everyone has worries and fears. Anxiety to some extent. But when it starts impacting us in such a way that feel we aren't really able to live the life we want? Then it is time to dig deeper for help with it.  That sounds to be where you are at.  

The ways to find a therapist are numerous at this time. You may know someone that sees a therapist that they can recommend.  You can google 'therapist/psychologist that specializes in anxiety near me" and get a list of names. You can contact your health insurance (f you are in the US) or health agency wherever you are to find a list of options. You can now do therapy online with things like Betterhelp that you pay with cash but licensed therapists operate it for telehealth therapy.  You can get a referral from your regular doctor.  All sorts of options of finding someone to do psychotherapy with.

Then you can work on strategies to cope with anxiety and hopefully overcome it.  That's what I'd do if I were you.  If you find that STILL is not enough, maybe the subject of medication will come up but perhaps not.

So, take it one step at a time.  Strategies of distraction can help, deep breathing, getting regular physical activity, solid sleep and good nutrition are helpful.  Keep all of that in mind too but get someone to talk to about this and see if you can move past it. (you don't need to keep asking ANYONE about HIV anymore. You are on the right track to reach out about anxiety. )
Helpful - 0
Thank you for such a detailed answer. I am doing Wim Hof Breathing, cold showers and weight lifting. After doing these, I do feel much better. But it looks more like a treatment than a cure.

I will wait for couple of weeks and if it keeps coming back, I will find a therapist. Did not know just talking was an option
Yes, absolutely. Talk therapy alone is available and what a LOT of people do.  Down the road, if you need more, you can re evaluate then. But talking through the fear, the reasons for it, working on coping strategies, etc. could be beneficial to you.  It's more of a letting go of this issue, it sounds like. Are you anxious about other things?
No, I am not anxious about other things. Not that I am thinking about it, I am more concerned about this anxiety NOT going away than I am concerned about HIV
I can understand that. Anxiety feels crummy and we start to become anxious about the anxiety!  But it really is treatable.  I think you are definitely in a good position to be helped by talk therapy because you really understand that this is anxiety driven.  Start figuring out WHO to set up an appointment with as some places are going to get you in sooner than others. It never hurts to set up the appointment and if it is 4 weeks, 6 weeks, or so until you can be seen, you're at least set up to do so.  Telehealth makes it easier. And I think some of the online therapy sites like Betterhealth can set you up fairly quickly.  I've not gone that route but know someone who has and they think it is helpful to them.  You may want to be seen in person though.  That's totally up to you. But know that you sound like this is pretty isolated in terms of the anxiety issue so you should be able to overcome this.  :))  There are a lot of good books on managing anxiety as well you could check out of the library or invest in.  Anyway, stay in touch!  We're always happy to chat about it.
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