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Avatar universal

HIV Panic Disorder

It has been mentioned in several posts that an HIV scare seems to manifest physical symptoms.  Has anyone considered studying and perhaps publishing some information on this.  In my opinion, HIV Panic Disorder deserves its own seperate category in the list of anxiety disorders.  
It evokes curiosity that many of us develop the same symptoms in a similar time frame.  Upset stomach, lymph nodes, the infamous tingling sensations, fatigue, mouth ulcers, mysterious body aches and pains, etc.  are very common among people here.  It is intriguing that those who have had no risk at all (or maybe just theorhetical risks) develop these symptoms to a degree that sometimes seems more prominent than those with serious risks.  Perhaps this is due to personality.  That is, if one is panicing over an issue that should not be an issue (i.e.  mutual masterbation, kissing, protected sex, or even the famous bottle in the bum, to name a few)it is probably safe to say that the person's personality is probably somewhat phobic to begin with.  Anxiety is obviously a more powerful monster than most of us have given credit to.  In my own experience, for example, I have never dealt with anxiety to a degree that would manifest itself physically.  Then again, I can not imagine anything in this world that I have feared more than HIV.  I am sure those who fear cancer face similar situations, but from what little research I have done on the matter, it seems as if HIV Panic Disorder is the bigger beast.  
To clarify, all I am trying to say is that not only has HIV established itself as a major real disease, perhaps it has also manifested itself into a second disease--HIV Panic Disorder complete with its own cycles and symptoms.  Maybe I am completely crazy (and definitely not a medical or psychological professional) but I really think there is something to the specific anxiety issues surrounding HIV and the demon that is the window period that deserves to be studied.  
6 Responses
Avatar universal
I believe most of the anxiety about this virus stems from the social stigma associated with the disease. The stigma needs to be eradicated as much as the disease does.
Without the stigma of the disease there may be even greater strides made in medical research due to the fact more and more people would get tested, proving that there are many out there unaware of infection.  Eventually it would hit closer to home among law makers, politicians, and medical community.

On another note I have heard someone on this forum state that he would wish for cancer before he would HIV. WOW??????
Many many people find out they have cancer and are given 6 months to a year to live.
People get HIV and are told (today) that they could live 20, 30 or more years.

I bet those with cancer that are given 6 months  would love a 20 + year prognosis.
Avatar universal
I absolutely agree with you, 100%.  It has been drilled into our heads since the 80's (when I was a small child) that there is this horrible disease out there that makes you waste away, lose a ton of weight, start having ugly and grotesque sores all over your body, has no cure, presents a large social stigma against those infected, eventually leads to a long and painful death, and, oh yeah, is caused from getting laid!
There seems to be two opposite poles on how to handle this issue:
1) Those that are completely paranoid over the issue and over-react and can never have a fulfilling sex life
2) Those that think it's just a conspiracy and engage in whatever behavior they want to and stand a good chance of actually contracting it.

Those in the middle ground between these extremes are far and few between.
I'm not saying it's a conspiracy, it does exist as Teak can attest to, but from what I've read, it is EXTREMELY difficult for a man to contract from a woman.  The biggest risks are, for biological reasons, receptive anal intercourse and intravenous drug use.  The biggest risk for transmission from a woman to a man is if she's on her period.  Somebody correct me if I'm wrong with documented scientific evidence please.
Avatar universal
I absolutely agree with you, 100%.  It has been drilled into our heads since the 80's (when I was a small child) that there is this horrible disease out there that makes you waste away, lose a ton of weight, start having ugly and grotesque sores all over your body, has no cure, presents a large social stigma against those infected, eventually leads to a long and painful death, and, oh yeah, is caused from getting laid!
There seems to be two opposite poles on how to handle this issue:
1) Those that are completely paranoid over the issue and over-react and can never have a fulfilling sex life
2) Those that think it's just a conspiracy and engage in whatever behavior they want to and stand a good chance of actually contracting it.

Those in the middle ground between these extremes are far and few between.
I'm not saying it's a conspiracy, it does exist as Teak can attest to, but from what I've read, it is EXTREMELY difficult for a man to contract from a woman.  The biggest risks are, for biological reasons, receptive anal intercourse and intravenous drug use.  The biggest risk for transmission from a woman to a man is if she's on her period.  Somebody correct me if I'm wrong with documented scientific evidence please.
Avatar universal
I absolutely agree with you, 100%.  It has been drilled into our heads since the 80's (when I was a small child) that there is this horrible disease out there that makes you waste away, lose a ton of weight, start having ugly and grotesque sores all over your body, has no cure, presents a large social stigma against those infected, eventually leads to a long and painful death, and, oh yeah, is caused from getting laid!
There seems to be two opposite poles on how to handle this issue:
1) Those that are completely paranoid over the issue and over-react and can never have a fulfilling sex life
2) Those that think it's just a conspiracy and engage in whatever behavior they want to and stand a good chance of actually contracting it.

Those in the middle ground between these extremes are far and few between.
I'm not saying it's a conspiracy, it does exist as Teak can attest to, but from what I've read, it is EXTREMELY difficult for a man to contract from a woman.  The biggest risks are, for biological reasons, receptive anal intercourse and intravenous drug use.  The biggest risk for transmission from a woman to a man is if she's on her period.  Somebody correct me if I'm wrong with documented scientific evidence please.
Avatar universal
I agree as well.  Cancer you don't catch!  HIV, you do---hence Acquired Immuno.........Def....Syn...  And if Acquired, it must of been through the means of "dirty behavior".  We are going to self-destruct as a country if we do not get over this stigma ****.

This may be very hypothetical but it has crossed my mind that since the beginning of life we have evolved. Animals have evolved. Plants have evolved. Viruses WILL evolve. Wouldn't it be a ***** if HIV eventually became AIRBORNE through extensive mutating and resistence buildup. Sounds corny, I know, but look where man was 20,000 years ago. Now look at us.

(some are still dragging their knuckles)
79258 tn?1190630410
This is definitely a subject I find utterly fascinating and would like to study. I think it already is an actual diagnosis when viewed as a specific phobia. It also generally falls under the general umbrella of hypochondriasis, sometimes with a little OCD thrown in for good measure. There are other related possible diagnoses, but I think this fits most people here. I do agree that there is probably a certain personality predisposed to this, just like there are certain personality traits that seem to predispose people to depression or anxiety.

I've found the following seem to be triggers for many worried wells: guilt, whether for stepping out of an otherwise monogamous relationship, certain behaviors or partners, or sexual orientation; negative childhood messages about sexuality; lack of accurate information about HIV and sex in general; religion--especially sex-negative religions that forbid sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, discourage physical pleasure, and/or view sex as for procreation only; stigma of having HIV and worries about how that might be perceived by others; general health anxiety; and anxiety in general. I'm sure there are others, but I have a feeling everyone here can identify with at least one of these triggers. If you can think of others, please post them here. I'd love to hear other perspectives.


Confused, you are wrong when you claim people either are terrified of HIV or act irresponsibly. The truth is, 99% of people have no issues with HIV at all. But that doesn't mean they throw caution to the wind (although now that I think about it, with the intense anxiety and obsessive fears of most people here it probably SEEMS that way). They have sex, using reasonable precautions, and get tested once or twice a year without ever giving it a second thought. In this group, there's no angst about window periods and test generation and "confusing information" on the internet... because those things are characteristic of a very small, but grossly overrepresented group on the internet. Imagine obsessing over whether a meteor might fall on your head while you're out for your morning run. That's what your irrational anxieties seem like to them.

I suspect your beliefs are shaped by your visits to HIV related forums/boards and internet experience in general, not your experience with people in everyday life. I don't know how else to say it, except that this is not the real world.
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