Anxiety Community
23k Members
Avatar universal

HIV Phobia and Anxiety

I too have an HIV phobia.  I have posted before.  My life is heck right now.  I am in constant worry that I got it 10 or so years ago.  I tested back in 1996 and 2003.  I donated blood in 2004, 2005 and 2006.  All negative.  I have been with my husband since 2002 and no one else.  I went to the doctor on Tuesday and had a complete physical and another HIV test.  All bloodwork came back normal except my cholesterol and the HIV test was negative.  I have been given Paxil for anxiety.  I have a constant dry mouth, can't taste food and really don't feel like eating.  I have lost weight in the past 3 weeks.  What is going on with me?  I am miserable and in a constant state of anxiety and panic.  

Can anxiety cause dry mouth, decreased sense of taste and all of these things on a daily basis?  I called my doctor today and the nurse said that if there were something wrong it would have shown up on the bloodwork.  Help!!!!!   I don't know what to do.
18 Responses
1348686 tn?1310657843
Yes, anxiety can cause you to have a dry mouth as well as an endless list of other symptoms.  Sorry you are going through such a hard time right now.

Are you currenlty seeing a psychatrist?  If not I think it might be a good idea if start seeing one.  They can teach you different ways to deal with the anxiety and figure out a treatment plan for you.  Also keeping a journal might help you.

As far as the HIV goes you are negative and that is a good thing.  Just try and accept the fact that you are negative and try and focus on the positive things in your life.

Good luck I hope you feel better soon....
Avatar universal
It is awful.  It is all the time.  I saw a counselor once and canceled my appointment that was yesterday.  I am going to see him again on Saturday.  I just have this terrible feeling that something is very wrong with me and it's not showing up on the tests.
370181 tn?1428180348
We have spoken before and I wonder if you considered my advice to seek some therapy for these fears that are continuing to make your life so unhappy.

If you were tested for HIV in 1996, 2003 and donated blood in 2004, 2005 and 2006 (which IS tested for HIV and if it had been postitive, you would have been notified) then you were tested this past Tuesday which would cover the time between 2006 and now, I say you could be pretty darn sure you're HIV-

I will assume you trust your husband 100% or you use condoms? That's a tough question to ask and I mean no disrespect, but reality dictates that it gets put out there.

Do the symptoms of dry mouth, weight loss, loss of appetite and the time you began taking Paxil coincide? I would suggest talking to your doctor about these symptoms as they MAY be related to the med. and will pass in time.
If you feel you are in a constant state of anxiety and panic, you may also want to discuss with your doctor a script for a mild antianxiety med along with the antidepressant, Paxil.

I would also talk to him about referring you to a therapist so you can finally begin to lay this burden down.

I don't want this to alarm you, but I want you to know the facts about blood tests. What your doctor's nurse told you is not exactly accurate. When a doctor orders blood work, there is a "standard" set of tests run on that blood, which will give results for a "standard" set of findings. It will tell them about your red blood cells and your white blood cells, it can tell them about your kidneys and your liver function, if you fasted before you gave blood, they can check your cholesterol and your glucose levels and numerous other findings. But the statement that "if ANYTHING" was wrong, it would show up in your bloodwork" is just not true. There are hundreds of specialized tests doctors need to order to look for specific problems.
Many, many years ago I lost my sister to cancer and I developed a horrid phobia about the disease. I was fairly young and didn't understand a lot about medical stuff. I did, however, come to believe that any disease in the world would show up in your blood work. When I had blood drawn, for a week I lived in absolute panic and terror, sure that this time they would see the cancer I was sure I had. When they called with the results and said that everything was fine, to me that meant I not only didn't have cancer, I didn't have leprosy or brain tumors or club feet or ANTHING!
Imagine my horror, years later, when I learned that cancer virtually never shows up in blood work..........and a thousand other diseases don't show up either unless a tests is ordered specifically to look for it.
I didn't want to scare you, and I'm sorry if I did, I justI didn't want you to spend years being as naive as I was. If you are concerned about a particular disorder, talk to your doctor and if he/she thinks there is a need beyond reassuring you, then the test will be ordered.

Anxiety can cause so many symptoms and it takes a village to fix it..............the doctor, the therapist, you, your friends and family. But it IS fixable and that's the happy ending to this rant.


Avatar universal
Yes.  I do trust my husband.  It's the symptoms that I am having that make me a nervous wreck.  

I did see a counselor and am going back on Saturday for another session.  The symptoms started just before the Paxil but seemed to be worse.  What I was worried about first was damage to my liver because I had been drinking heavily.  Which I have stopped since 08/28/2010.  
370181 tn?1428180348
Please keep the appointment on Saturday.
I think there IS something wrong and it's not showing up on the tests because the problem is in your thinking, not your body. And I don't believe it's "something terribly wrong."  I think it's something psychological that you are now ready to face and deal with. You've taken a huge step by talking to all of us. We all know that takes courage to admit we're scared. But that shows you how strong you are. Take the next step and see the therapist Saturday. They'll help you with the step after that.
I know this is really corny, but it's so true that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step................
1042487 tn?1275283499
If you really want to be sure you don't have HIV take the ELISA/Western Blot test and ask for a PCR too. PCR is sensitive enough to detect infected person in the ''window period''.

Yes it is true that a CBC will not show everything. You need specific serology for different infections, thyroid is another test, sedimentation too, C-reactive protein for inflamation etc etc...

Avatar universal
I had the antibody tests which came back negative.  My concern is not something that happened recently since I have been with my husband since 2002.  It is something from years ago that would be out of the window period.  

Now I am even more worried.  
370181 tn?1428180348
You went to the doctor this past Tuesday, right? You had a complete physical which I will assume included blood work which will tell the doc how your kidneys and liver are doing and if there is any damage from the drinking. He/she probably also palpated your liver and would have said something if it was tender or enlarged which would have sent up some red flags. Since I'm guessing that didn't happen, let's just go ahead and trust that everything is fine.
Hopefully you will get the test results back before Saturday so you don't have that worry hanging over your head.
Just march in there knowing that the only goal of that person is to listen to you and help you.
I wish you peace
1042487 tn?1275283499
False negative results are uncommon... Especially in your case not being in the window period.

A PCR should confirm you don't have HIV. Anyway I really don't think you have it since your labs came back fine but with the advance in plasma technology you can have a more sensitive test.

Avatar universal
My tests came back yesterday.  They said it was negative.  I heard the PCR test is for early detection.  Isn't that right?
1042487 tn?1275283499
PCR is extremely sensitive at all stages of the infections. The reason you think it's only for early detection it's because it is way more efficient in early detection than the standard tests for those in the ''window period''.

370181 tn?1428180348
Then you ARE negative, Toots! Excellent news! Very sweet.
I am very, very happy for you.
I don't know about the PCR test. I will let M4 respond to that.
Take that deep breath now.................

Avatar universal
Wouldn't they have done this test back when I donated blood?  Is there a need for one now?  My doctor didn't think so.  
1042487 tn?1275283499
Personally I don't think there is a need for you to take it since you came back negative and usually the false negative tests are mostly seen in individuals in the window period.

This test would be very optional and I don't know if you are well insured but it cost way more than a basic serology.

They usually don't do the PCR test for those who donate blood due to it's cost but as the technology advance it should become more available.

Anyway if you really want to easy your mind and be sure you don't have HIV go for the PCR but seriously I really don't think you have HIV but if you are sure you don't have it then it might be the end of this HIV phobia of yours.

1042487 tn?1275283499
I would like to add that at such late stage of infection it is clear that it would have shown in the antibodies test so no you don't have to take the PCR and I really don't think you have HIV.

Avatar universal
Thanks for the support and insight.  How do you know all of this?
1042487 tn?1275283499
I know about serology/microbiology/virus and bacterial infections because of Lyme disease.

1042487 tn?1275283499
Having done this also helps

    * MIT OCW '10
      9,00 Introduction to Psychology, 9,01 Neuroscience and Behavior
      7,012/14 Introduction to Biology
      some Physics 8,01, 8,02, 8,03
    * Stanford University Video Lectures '09
      Quantum Mechanics Video Lectures
      Various Video Lectures
    * TTC '10
      Neurobiology Video Lecture
    * HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College
      111 Human Biology audio

Copied from my Facebook profile.

Have an Answer?
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1428180348
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out what can trigger a panic attack – and what to do if you have one.
A guide to 10 common phobias.
Take control of tension today.
These simple pick-me-ups squash stress.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?