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Need Help Dealing With Wife's Irrational HIV Fears

I need some help here.  I have been with my wife since 2009.  She lives in another country, and I am in Canada.  I am now in the process of her immigrating to Canada.  We were married last year (2012).  I was worried about a condom falling off incident six years prior from 2005 in a former relationship, so I had an HIV test in 2011.  I tested negative.  

My wife and I are both monogamous and we are not IV drug users or users of ANY kinds of drugs, period.  However, she has an irrational fear of HIV.  She is set to go for her immigration medical in a few days, where HIV is one of the things they test for.  She decided to get an HIV test in her city so she would know her status before her immigration medical, and not surprisingly, it was negative.  It was the type of test where she got the results after about 90 minutes.  The doctor drew blood from her arm, and her negative result showed up as one line.  I guess that would be the rapid test?  Her first fear is that she claims this type of test is supposed to be done with a finger prick, not an arm draw, as hers was.  I keep telling her blood is blood, and the goal with the test is just to get some of her blood for the test, and whether it was her arm or finger makes no difference.

Secondly, she doesn't seem to understand what a conclusive HIV test result is.  As I said, my wife and I are both monogamous, do not use drugs, and do not engage in risky activities.  When I tested negative for HIV in the summer of 2011, I hadn't had any sexual contact with my wife (then my fiancée) for well over a year, and since she has since tested negative, anyway, it wouldn't have mattered if I had.  She thinks I need another HIV test because I was at the dentist for a tooth extraction and filling and I could have been infected by dirty dental tools and/or the dentist.  Unfortunately, she was on the Internet reading about some dentist who supposedly injected his patients with HIV.  
2 Responses
300980 tn?1194933000
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Welcome to the Forum.  I agree with you that your wife was tested with a rapid test, that blood is blood and the in such situation when blood from the arm is available it is often preferable to use for testing because finger sticks hurt more than drawing blood from a vein, and that from what you tell me her fears are unwarranted.  I do not know of counselors who specialize in unwarranted fears of HIV and doubt that your wife needs one.  I suspect she can be helped by a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist who is comfortable and ready to help her with health related paranoia.  In the meantime, I would urge her to stay off of the internet. While there is much good information on the internet, there is also much misinformation and much misunderstanding.

By the way and for your information, about 20 years ago there was a dentist who had HIV and appears to have maliciously injected at least one of his patients giving them HIV.  That is the only case of this sort and it serves only to prove that there are sick, irrational person in the world.  That does not in any way however justify your wife's fears.

Take care. EWH
Avatar universal
I even emailed the infection control officer of my dental clinic who mentioned how this is not possible, all the tools are sterilised, anesthetic needles are used once then discarded, etc. in the hopes of her reading the email and believing it.  It didn't work.

Furthermore, my wife has (unbelievably) made plans of giving a gift to whoever the nurse is who administers her immigration HIV test because she is afraid the nurse who does the test will draw her blood and then say she is HIV positive just to get money for further tests "just like in the movies."  She is even coming with her original negative HIV test result in case the nurse tries to falsely claim she is positive.  I have tried to tell her that nurses and doctors are professionals, and to do that would mean their jobs would be at stake, but she won't listen.

Clearly, my wife and I are both HIV negative.  Neither of us need further testing, and I am sure you would agree.  The only reason, of course, my wife is getting tested again is for the whole immigration process.  How do I get my wife to see things rationally?  Do you know of any counsellors in Canada who specialise in treating irrational HIV fear?  I'd love for her to get over this irrational fear.  Life is too short to spend it worrying about something that is completely impossible.  Thank you, doctor.    
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