Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Community
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Since my early childhood, I had OCD. Always washed my hands many times, very picky about things I eat, get extremely worried and seriously depressed whenever i'm sick (whether it's a simple flu, or food poisoning). The illness always takes longer than normal to heal, because of anxiety aggravating symptoms.

OCD also applies in the fear of me "hurting" others. I always had a "fear" of me having "HIV".. so whenever i bleed (even it was just a few droplets), i always make sure i disinfect the area... fearing of contaminating others.
When driving, i'm always obsessed about the idea of me hurting pedestrians on the side walks, or hitting neighboring cars. I'm actually a very good and safe driver, but still.. i always have these hallucinations that i'm constantly hitting someone i didn't see. Same thing goes, when i'm driving backwards by car.. i always get outside the car, and check if i hit someone.

To challenge my "HIV" status, and to have piece in mind, I did the HIV test, and the result was negative. I was safe.

Few days ago, i had protected sex, with a woman of questionable HIV status (she's very sexually active). Since then, i'm freaking out big time. I can barely sleep, barely eat, sometimes barely stand. Even if the sex was protected, i always imagine there are some risks (on uncovered areas). When discussing with doctors, some say: very very low risk but get tested again. Some others say: no risk at all, don't get tested, but go see a psychiatrist to help you on your OCD. For me, i always assume worst case scenarios.. and in this case, the scenario (HIV contamination) is fatal.

4 days now, i'm lost some weight, barely spoke to friends.. I lost appetite, my heart hurts, and i often wake up at night with panic attacks. it impacted my job and daily life. I don't know if i can stand to wait till the HIV test window period (1 months).
I know that contracting HIV while having protection is so improbable, and that crossing the street would be more dangerous.. I know all the stats, i read all articles about HIV prevention, protection, ... But still, i can't overcome my fears. I'm in a very high anxiety status.

Any professional advice to help me?
7 Responses
1699033 tn?1514116733
Obviously you can't go on living this way.  What are you going to do...give up sex for the rest of your life?  You had protected sex with somebody whose HIV status you don't even know.  Why don't you ask her?  She would have to be positive for you to have any chance what so ever of becoming HIV positive.  

Your OCD run along many lines and honestly you need to be in treatment for it.  Have you seen a psychologist in the past?  You have mentioned reading articles about HIV prevention, protection, etc. but what have you actually learned that you believe?  It seems to me that doubt will always be there and doubt is a big part of OCD.  

Check out this website:


The bottom line is you need to see a psychologist.   You need to learn about this disorder, you need to learn cognitive behavioral therapy.  Unchecked OCD gets worse as you know.  That is why you can't eat, have no desire to be with your friends, and can barely function.  It leads to depression.  Stop the roller coaster and get off finally.  Seek the help you need and of course we will be here for you if you have any other questions.  Remember, we cannot make you better, only you can do that.  
Avatar universal
Thank you doctor for your detailed response.

I'm always terrified by the terms "safe sex" and "safer sex". In my mind, protected sex makes the intercourse safer, but never fully protected (i'm always worried about the base of the penis, which stays uncovered thus unprotected). The woman i had sex with, told me she's safe, and did have an hiv test in the past. But she's so sexually active, i get worried she had caught any viruses since.

From my side, i would still have sex, but only with a long term partner, after i had "investigated" about her history / last HIV tests. I know it's not practical and very embarrassing to do that when a couple first meets.. but i won't feel comfortable else wise.

I went through the web page you sent, and i could find myself in most of the sections. I actually did have counseling with psychologists, and today, i was about to book an appointment with a psychiatrist.

When reading the webpage, it was clearly stated that it has nothing to do with parenthood (I used to blame my parents) and it's not just psychological. The brain and its biology are responsible for OCD. So medication seems to be important.

However, i noticed that all medication have severe side effects (nausea, diarrhea, suicidal thoughts..) My smaller brother has ADHD, and was prescribed strattera. It had the same side effects mentioned, and It turned his life to real hell. So i don't think i can bare this.

Fortunately for me, OCD in my life has its ups and downs. It was close to disappear, until i had this last sexual encounter... when OCD boosted again big time.. I'm sure it's very psychological. If I had protected sex, with a woman that had a less active sexual life.. i wouldn't have freaked out that much. I don't know if what i'm saying makes sense or not.

Next step for me, book an appointment with a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Still haven't decided + wait till i can take the HIV test to have piece in mind again. Till then, i should try to relax.
1699033 tn?1514116733
There is a difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.  If you want to pursue the medication route, then you should see a psychiatrist.  I actually take medication.  If you want to learn cognitive behavioral therapy, then you should see a psychologist.  So if in the past you have not learned cognitive behavioral therapy, then my suggestion is to start with the psychologist.  From there you can both decide if medication is indicated and then you can always get a referral.  

Yes all medications have side efects but those side effects are different for each person.  I tried a few that I didn't like and didn't want to live with the side effects.  I just kept trying different ones until I found one I liked.  ADHD is the same actually.  The meds are stimulants and it does seem counter-intuitive to give an ADHD kid a stimulant but it actually has the reverse effect.  My son has ADHD and used to take Adderall.  He has decided that he doesn't like to take medication.  

And another thing about HIV.  How will you become infected from the base of your penis?  HIV has to get deep into the tissues in order to even have a chance at infecting somebody.  Even with the optimal conditions for infection, the rate is only 0.03%.  Think about intercourse...the in and out causes tiny micro-tears in the skin and so HIV could have a route to get where it needs to get to to infect a person.  If you are wearing a condom then your semen isn't getting in her and her vaginal fluid isn't getting in you.  

As an aside, I am going to throw this out there and your parents can decide if they want to give it a try for your brother.  It is called Remedy No. 11 - Tranquil from 21C natural remedies.  It is a spray that you use three times a day and it is all natural.  Has no aftertaste and has no side effects.  My oldest son has ADD and he says he notices a difference and my younger son, when he remembers to take it, says it makes a difference as well.  Just somthing to think about since it is natural.  Really nothing to lose there.  

Let me know if I can be of any further help.  
Avatar universal
Hello Doctor,

I highly appreciate your time to read and to reply to my post.

I have had counseling several times, back in university, then again few years ago, but the treatment never was focused on OCD specifically, but rather, on its consequences.

Probably for this time, because my crisis is about HIV, i'll just see the psychiatrist (having had an MD background). I fear medication and its side effects, so probably i'll just ask the doctor I talk it out with him, and ask him to give me tips to fight OCD without taking medication / probably ask him to refer me to a psychologist. (I understand you recommended the other way around, but for this time, i'll try to do it this way).

Concerning HIV, i already posted my case on the "HIV prevention" forum. What troubles me is that, 1.5 days before the sexual encounter, i had masturbated twice, consequently.. so it was rough. Due to friction, i'm sure it caused micro-tears. 1.5 days later, i had sex.. having the base of the penis uncovered. My fear is when i penetrated (i always penetrate fully), some vaginal fluid would have reached the micro-tears, that occurred 1.5 days ago.

It seems there's no risk. I'm not saying this to question the answer the forum had given. Not at all. It's just my OCD side, who's keep on telling me: "But theoretically: the risk is slim, but is still there"!

I have the exact feeling, when i drive back wards.. I always fear, someone, suddenly jumped behind me, i didn't see him, and i hit him.
Difference is, in this scenario, i know the answer in 10 seconds. I step out of the car, and check. For HIV, i should wait for a month => anxiety and guilt.

I'm an engineer, worked in finance and statistics. So i know exactly how "risk" and "stats" work (in finance) and behave. But when it comes to "me" and "other people impacted by me", my sense of rationality disappears, and i always consider worst case scenarios.

Huge thanks for the tip: "Remedy No. 11 - Tranquil from 21C natural remedies".

I'll suggest it to my brother. Anyway, he's a teenager now, his ADHD has tremendously decreased with time. But still, as long as it shouldn't necessarily be taken regularly, i think it's a good idea to use it before exams, ... I suppose it's homeopathic, right?

Thanks a lot for your reply, and I'm glad you found a suitable medication for managing your OCD with no side effects. Same things for your 2 kids :)

1699033 tn?1514116733
Glad you are going back to see somebody.  And just so you know, I am not a doctor but rather just a another person who has suffered from OCD for more than 30 years.  :)  or :( depending on how you look at it.  
Avatar universal
I thought i found an "MD" somewhere in your profile ;)

I'm sure it's a ":)" in your case, you MADE it! :) You got married, have children.. i'm sure you have a happy life.

I need to wait 1 month + 2 others for my HIV test to get back to normal from an anxiety point of view.. As for OCD, i need to seriously start working on it!
Tomorrow morning, appointment booked!
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