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HIV Anxiety

This is a long one, but bear with me, it's not gonna be boring.

Hi, I am a 28 year old male Software Engineer. I have suffered from anxiety of contracting HIV in the past but this is the most toughest episode ever. I am unable to meet a therapist at the moment since we are under lock down, the same reason I cannot get tested.

Eight weeks ago I went to an ********* spa (lot of herbal oils) to get a deep tissue back massage since I have been from a disc herniation for 2 years and buttocks pain after a gym accident(while doing deadlift). The therapist was 40-50 year old woman and she was wearing lot of makeup and her face was also a bit scary lol. She was fully clothed all the time and looked a bit fat. She, the manager and the receptionist all claimed that she had worked as an assistant to an ********* doctor for 12 years and that's how she learnt the skill. But for some reason by looking at her, I feel that she is a former prostitute, maybe became a massage therapist later. That is the origin of my fear. This spa is a male-to-male, female-to-female for full body massage. But when I told about my back pain issue the manager recommended her saying she is the most experienced. At first she was a bit hesitant to massage me when I explained I had a buttock pain, she said she would have to talk to the manager since she would have to touch my buttocks. However she did the massage and on the first day I was wearing a towel. I was lying face down and at one point she removed the towel and just put it to cover my ****. She was saying "don't worry, you are just a kid noh". She never touched my **** but was touching around my anus.

Ok, the first day was fine but all this nightmare started on the second visit. That time I was wearing an underwear (blue briefs) and she was focusing on the tailbone area. She was telling that some nerves have been misaligned (I told her that I lost balance when I was deadlifting). After like 30 mins, while she was massaging the buttocks out of nowhere she put her finger up my anus. She told me that some of the nerves have tilted towards right side and that it needs to be adjusted. Desperate for help, I didn't refuse and she told me to kneel. And her finger was inside my ******* for few minutes and she was also pressing her other fingers towards my balls. That was a bit painful when her finger was pressing my balls. I was so shocked by this and right after I came home, I started googling if HIV could be transmitted by fingering.

My mind was telling me that she was a former prostitute who was HIV+ and wanted to infect me with it. I thought of a scenario where she picked her finger (she was fully clothed and also wearing a cover like kitchen maids. She may have had a needle or something there). I was thinking her finger might have been bleeding while inside my anus. But I was wearing a light blue underwear all the time but I didn't see any blood stain. And also after the massage was over and I went to the receptionist to pay she also came around that area but I didn't see her wearing any plaster or something.

I posted this in the HIV-Prevention forum (https://www.medhelp.org/posts/HIV-Prevention/Can-I-get-HIV-if-massage-therapist-fingered-me/show/3054493) and everyone said there was never a risk and that I don't need testing. I searched like 50 posts about anal fingering and for all of them the answer was always there has never been a documented case in 40 years, no risk, no need of testing. I accepted it and tried to move on but then some weird symptoms came which freaked me out and got me back in the anxiety roller coaster. I didn't have fever (not even 98F), I dont think I had severe sore throat (I always had large tonsils but dont think it was severe during this time; like painful swallowing, difficult to eat etc.) But the symptom that freaked me out most is some sort of a rash; there are pimple like small bumps in the chest and arms and the skin is very fry and flaky. The weather in here (Sri Lanka) is a bit hot and humid and this is the longest I have stayed at home (like 3 months- due to annual leave and corona lockdown). Maybe that is a reason for the rash, I dunno. I applied vaselene for a like a week, the dryness is somewhat gone but pimple like small spots are still there.

I have been worrying for 8 weeks like this, reading through forums, very difficult to focus on my work and difficulty in sleeping. Can there be any chance where this nightmare scenario be real? I know for that to happen 2 things need to be true.
1. Therapist has to be HIV+ with a motive to infect me.
2. Virus needs to be transmitted via anal fingering.

For (1), most people said this is irrational and crazy. For (2) doctors have said there has never been a documented case and that although it is theoretically possible the probability is ignorable. But my anxiety is so fixated on the fact that (1) is 100%. Based on the story I have told, is there any chance of this nightmare becoming real and me becoming the first person in 40 years to contract HIV by anal fingering (at least the first ever documented case). I never had sex with anyone, not even oral sex, not even kissing LOL.

Now the lockdown is coming to and end soon and now I am starting to fear testing. What should I do? How do I move past this nightmare? Please help.

ps: A bit about my history: in 2018 I had a cut in my neck at barber shop and I told my parents and got the barber tested for HIV since I saw him kind of shaking his finger when putting the blade (like he cut himself). This incident was back in my head and that is why I thought of not telling anything to my parents this time. However, I did call the spa and asked if they would allow the therapist to be tested. But they refused saying they dont allow outsiders to test their therapists.
2 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
We don't give HIV assessments here, you are on the wrong forum. This forum is to discuss anxiety and getting treatment for it.  Please talk to your doctor and you can do that with a phone call about where to get help.  If you can't get out?  Try virtual therapy.  Medication and therapy can be very effective overall to treatment and that's where you are at.  
2 Comments
Well, I had previously posted on HIV-Prevention forum and they told me to post in anxiety forum. I just wanted to get input from others; whether my fear is rational, or its just anxiety. Virtual therapy is bit difficult, I will have a one on one session with a therapist once the lockdown is over.
You can ask about anxiety here.  What are your questions about anxiety?  I know they didn't send you to the anxiety forum to continue your long discussion on hiv.  That is not what this forum is here for. Your going to have to take treatment for anxiety seriously and make it a priority.  You can get a CBT work book or anxiety work book to begin on your own through the internet.  You can try to do virtual therapy.  You can speak to your doctor.  You can have your ducks in a row for where you are going as soon as lockdown ends (which in the US is starting now).  Get some apps like either Calm or Headspace or the like that help with breathing, meditation and relaxation.  Exercise daily.  Practice good sleep and eating.  All of these things help our mental health.  good luck
Avatar universal
Yes, you posted on the HIV forum and you were told over and over you had no risk of getting HIV from this.  By posting here I assume you have finally accepted this intellectually and figured out you have a phobia about getting HIV, not a risk of having it.  That's a good start.  Your fear is irrational only because what happened can't give you HIV.  You have apparently researched this and know this to be true, but only intellectually, and phobias are by definition irrational fears.  But do understand, the fear is irrational but fear itself isn't.  It's rational to be wary of getting HIV so you won't engage in risky behavior.  It's perfectly rational to be afraid of driving, it's one of the most dangerous things we do in life, for example, but it's irrational to be so afraid of it you become paralyzed and can't live your life.  I think Mom is probably right, you probably can get virtual therapy, but that doesn't mean it's for everyone.  I also imagine you will find it hard to get access to your country being one of the most Buddhist countries in the world where you can get some of the best meditation training available and some of the oldest mental health treatment on the planet -- a lot of the relaxation techniques people use around the world originated in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions and you're right there in the mother load.  But you're in lockdown with the rest of us, so it's not a great time.  I also explained to you on the HIV forum that there are a lot of what might seem to us to be very odd forms of traditional treatment for pain.  I told you of a form of chiropractic, for example, that focuses quite a bit on the tailbone area, which is the bottom of the vertibrae.  So this might have been a very helpful treatment for you.  I really don't know.  It doesn't sound at all sexual, and judging someone as being a prostitute isn't going to get you far in life.  What you need as soon as you can get it is therapy, and if I recall your post was before your lockdown and you did nothing.  Keep doing nothing about your true problem, your phobia, and you'll keep messing up the hours of your life worrying about things that don't need worrying about.  Here's hoping you can move to working on what really is a problem for you, your phobia.  Peace.  
2 Comments
Thanks for taking time again and being patient with me. Part of me is trying to be rational and trying to stay sane and the other part is fixated on symptoms. I think I inherited that DNA from my mom, she always assumes the worst case scenario. She thought the therapist was a man but when I told her that its a woman, she was like "What were you thinking, all women working in spas are prostitutes". I didn't mention to her about the fingering part, she would have freaked out. So that's where I am at. As both of you have mentioned, I will try to get virtual therapy.
Anxiety can run in families whether it is genetic or observation and modeling for how our caregivers handle stress and life themselves.  I try to be mindful of that with my kids.  Good luck with therapy.  Try to have an open mind.  May take some work finding the situation that resonates best with you but help is out there if you seek it.  
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