Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Community
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Avatar universal

hiv anxiety + pregnancy :( no good

I am going through the worst anxiety I have ever had in my life. I have had hiv anxiety since I was a teenager. I havent used drugs and havent had many partners. I am about halfway through an unplanned pregnancy. Almost 10 weeks ago, I had an intense feeling come over me that I should test for hiv since I was pregnant. I am in a monogamous relationship but I wanted to be sure I had never contracted it from any of my previous relationships. I purchased a oraquick in home test from the store because my doctor didn't do prenatal bloodwork until 12 weeks into the pregnancy. The test was negative. When my doctor finally did the bloodwork all came back normal also.

I fear that the oraquick test that I bought from the store was contaminated with hiv and that since it was enclosed in the packaging it remained infectious when I swiped my gums. I have posted numerous times and I have been told by the doctors not to worry about it and to move on. BUT I CAN'T. I have tested again multiple times throughout the past 10 weeks and continue to be negative. I just know I won't be able to stop thinking about it until i get a conclusive result (12 weeks/3 months). This is only 2 weeks away but im so scared. NOt only that I was contaminated but what If i were to get a false positive? The doctors also told me there was no reason to be concerned about that either but I am still terrified.

My boyfriend has been getting an upset stomach lately and 8 weeks after the 'test exposure" I got a flu like sickness. HAd runny nose sore throat low grade fever and was very achey. and I am afraid its an ars symptom. I'm afraid that  i got hiv from the test and gave it to him! And not to mention my fear for the baby that I'm carrying! I am a naturally anxious person. Have major depression but chose not to take medication during my pregnancy. This has all been so scary and I feel totally alone. No one knows about this fear. I am too ashamed and I know it just sounds crazy. I just want to know my baby is ok! 2 more weeks i just want this over with. I need support.
18 Responses
1699033 tn?1514116733
Hi there.  Pregnancy can be difficult for those of us that have anxiety and/or OCD.  The hormonal changes can make all the difference.  PLUS you are having an unplanned pregnancy, so not something you were prepared for AND add to that the fact that having a baby, especially the first one, is stressful in and of itself.  

Let me state emphatically that you cannot get HIV from the test.  HIV cannot live in the air period even in this sealed package.  Think about it, deep down inside you know there is no HIV.  The problem is that you want control and closure and it is driving you crazy not to have that closure.  Even though you have been given negative results multiple times, you still doubt.  Do you think you can let it go at 12 weeks or do you think you are going to think up some other reason why the test results are not right?  

Let me suggest a book called Self-Coaching by Joseph Luciani and also the OCD Workbook:  YOur Guide to Breaking free of OCD.  You have a while to go before you baby comes.  

In the mean time try this breathing technique when you feel anxious.  Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for 5 seconds and count this out in your head, then let it all go through your mouth.  Try it lying down at first.  It is possible to hyperventilate without realizing it so that is why it is good to control your breathing.  Also this is something you can do at any time and any place and no one will even know you are doing it.  The second suggestion is to find some good meditatation videos on YouTube.

I hope you feel better soon.  And if you can see a psychologist, then even better.  
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for that! It really did help. I will try the book and the videos and breathing techniques. I need something to do to relieve my anxiety and panic attacks that has nothing  to do with hiv and getting online and googling things that scare me even more.

I am a christian and I convinced myself that God was going to punish me in some way for getting pregnant without being married. I feel like I don't deserve to have a healthy baby and be happy. I know that is irrational but that is how it began. I try to tell myself that there's no way that it could have happened and I remember even looking at the swab part that went in my mouth before i swiped. It was just plain white the way it is suppose to be. I STILL managed to convince myself maybe it was white infectious fluid that I was not able to see. I have been seeing things like movies about hiv or hiv being brought up in tv shows constantly and keep thinking it has to be a sign!

It all sounds crazy. I do feel that after the 12 weeks is up I will finally move on. I have been seeing a christian counselor for my guilt and it has helped but no matter what I do I can't get this fear out of my head. It was also helpful to hear  from another person that its not possible to get hiv that way. I just have to keep telling myself that. Earlier today I was thinking about testing again this weekend (it will be 10 weeks and a few days) but I don't want to. I don't want to go through the stress but I'm having a hard time.
1699033 tn?1514116733
Don't test because then you are giving into the thought and so it stays around.  You are feeding it rather than saying "whatever" and moving on.  Test at 12 weeks because you feel that will make you better but after that NO MORE TESTING.  Any good psychologist.  
Avatar universal
you are right. testing along the way has not helped my anxiety and obsessive thoughts much. In fact it may have made it worse because now I'm fearing one of these times Il get a false positive. Its just hard to say whatever and move on when I think about the baby. I just hope the next 2 weeks goes by fast and I get a negative.
Avatar universal
Oh my gosh! I am losing my mind I feel like. It is now almost 11 weeks. I made the mistake of testing again at 10 weeks. It was negative. I am so scaared!!! I can't handle it anymore. I don't even like when anyone talks to me about my pregnancy at all because I am so scared for my baby. I just want this over with!!! May 22nd will be 12 weeks and Ill have to test again. I just pray it is also negative so I can feel somewhat normal again. My anxiety is through the roof feel like crying at every moment because I am so overwhelmed and tired from the constant worry.

This is so awful.I've tried therapy, exercise, everything aand I just cannot get passed this. I don't want to test anymore but I truly feel that I need to just to make sure. This is such a nightmare I am so physically and mentally exhausted.
1699033 tn?1514116733
How far along are you into your pregnancy?
Avatar universal
20 weeks
Avatar universal
Does that change something?
1699033 tn?1514116733
Not at all.  I'm just kind of comparing you to me and trust me when I say that you are doing much better than I did when I was pregnant.  If you have not discussed this OCD/Anxiety with your doctor, then I think you should.  Are you eating properly?  
Avatar universal
Oh man. I can't imagine because I don't feel like I'm doing very well! I have discussed my anxiety often with her. I brought up the hiv thoughts once to my ob and she just that I can't get it that way but said if I wanted they would retest me again in my third trimester but that they usually only do that with women that are engaging in risk factors which I am not. She encourages me to talk to someone.

I have seen a psychiatrist and he just wanted me to take medication such as zoloft. My ob said that would be ok but I just decided not to during my pregnancy. She also says it's ok to take a benadryl sometimes to calm me down. I do it often just one before bed to sleep but even that scares me and I feel guilty because I am pregnant.

When I found out I was pregnant I was underweight. I have since gained some weight and have been hungrier which is good but I don't make the healthiest choices. I am a junk food eater! I also feel bad about that but I'm just trying to make it through this high anxiety time! (1 more week)
1699033 tn?1514116733
I had to give in and go on meds at a little over 12 weeks with my first child.  I took prozac.  My son turned out okay except I did just discover he has OCD/anxiety (he is in college now) so the apple sure didn't fall too far from the tree.  There is a lot more research out there now regarding OCD and medication while pregnant.  When I did it, I don't think there was anything.  

I know and you know that this test is going to be negative.  And as far as the benadryl goes, the reality is you have to get some good sleep.  Without good sleep it is very hard to fight the OCD fight during the day.  It will all turn out wonderful in the end.  
Avatar universal
That's too bad your son has some of those tendencies! We know how tough it can be but at least he has someone in his life who is very knowledgeable about it and can help him deal with it. You were brave to go ahead and take the medication. I know pregnancy doesn't last forever. I will get through this just as you did.

You are right. A part of me says there's no way you could have gotten it that way so of course the test will be negative. I somehow convinced myself that it doesn't matter, that I just have to wait 3 months to 'be sure'. It's so silly but such a real fear. I am still so scared of a false positive but as I said the doctors on the expert forum told me "pregnant or not, there is no realistic chance of false positives". I am not sure what that means because many many people state pregnancy does increase false positive rate. Anyhow, I haven't gotten any up until this point so I know I will probably be fine. Thank you again for all of your reassurance. Since I don't share these feelings with really anyone it feels good to have someone else's insight and to know that it's OCD not a real situation that I'm fearing.
Avatar universal
Hi there!

First of all, I have been wanting to say thank you again for your comments during that awful time in my life! I would have done so earlier but was trying to stay away from the internet to keep from fueling my anxiety after my 12 week test. Well as you can see, I failed at that. I have tested negative up until 13.5 weeks which has absolutely brought my anxiety down a ton! So thankful for that.

However, you were right, I even still doubt my tests :( definitely the OCD right? I keep thinking, since I am pregnant I know that my immune system is suppressed therefore maybe my window period would be longer (like 6 months). I try to counter those thoughts by telling myself it doesnt matter as my 'risk' really wasn't considered a risk (to most people). And also, I have seen something in a tv show or in the media several times A WEEK this whole time and even after my 13.5 week test. That seems like SO much! I feel that it has to be some sort of sign. do you see things about hiv/aids in the media or television shows as often as twice a week for 13 weeks! It just seems so crazy. I FOR SURE want to not test anymore but I am so sad that I still have these thoughts in my head. It thought they would be gone by now. Can you comment on this? would you be worried?

Again you are so much appreciated and please know that I am feeling MUCH better since the 3 months is up. I even have began sharing my pregnancy with more people. Just want my baby to be 100% safe! Thank you thank yoU!!
Avatar universal
When I was reading your posts it reminded me a lot of myself. When I was pregnant I pricked my finger with a pin and was convinced that I contracted HIV from it. My doctors kept telling me that there was no chance but I couldn't stop worrying about it. The funny thing is that I have a masters degree in biochemistry and I knew how highly unlikely it would be to get hiv this way. The chances of getting HIV if you stick yourself with a needle (not a pin), if a person with HIV has just used the needle is 0.32%. That is a 1 in 312 chance. In my case first of all someone would have had to prick themselves with the pin, the person would have to actually have HIV, they would of had to have pricked themselves very recently because HIV does not survive long outside the body and even then the pin is not hollow like a needle. But I couldn't get over the "what if" of OCD. I kept thinking what if I give HIV to my baby. So I insisted that I get tested and I was negative.
Now let's look at your situation. First of all your doctor tested your blood at 12 weeks and you tested negative. Therefore you do not have HIV. Period. I'm going to repeat this for you because you need to absorb it. You tested negative for HIV so you do not have HIV.
I totally understand your fear of getting HIV from the test because I suffer from OCD as well and I have gone through a very similar situation. Your fear of getting HIV from the test is irrational. It is your OCD. You are obsessing over it and testing has become a compulsion. You are getting momentary relief from each test but it is making the obsession worse. If you keep testing you are not going to feel better. You need to stop testing yourself and trust the doctors 12 week test. That test has told you that you have not contracted HIV from previous relationships or that test.
Now let's look at the test rationally. HIV does not live long outside the body.  You didn't see any blood on the swab. The swab was sterile and would not have any HIV on it. You would have to have had a deep cut on you gums. It would be similar to worrying about getting HIV from cleaning you ear with a Q- tip.
You are only seeing things about HIV on TV because you are really aware of it right now. I was obsessing about radioactivity a few months ago and in a week I saw 3 trucks with radioactive signs on them. I asked other people if they see radioactive trucks and they said they have never seen them. The point is I was looking for it.
God is not punishing you for getting pregnant without being married. He has blessed you. It is time to let the HIV thing go. You can do it! When you start to think about quickly go do something else and tell yourself that you will worry about it later not now. And whatever you do stop testing!
Avatar universal
how were you able to finally move on? How long did you wait to have the test your after your pin experience?

The past few weeks I have been having night sweats.  I don't seem to be feverish but I wake up with puddles of sweat between my chest when my room is not even hot. I always have a fan going as well as the A/C. Of course when you research night sweats, scary things like hiv come up! I also found that they can be common during pregnancy as a result of hormones but that they would be during the first and third trimesters. I am in my second so its scary to me!

Each time the idea of getting another test pops into my head I remember your advice that doing so is keeping me from getting better. Even after an essentially non existent exposure I have tested negative 3 months after it and many many times before that . I'd say that is good evidence that I am negative! Why am I struggling so bad? It seems like just when I begin to let go, a new 'sign or symptom' emerges :( scared.
Avatar universal
I got tested 3 months after the pin prick and it was negative. For the most part I was able to let it go after that. But I know what you mean about how you are at peace with it but then you see or hear something and it triggers all the anxiety again. They call it "stuck thinking".

One thing that I find that helps is if you write a letter to yourself about it when you are thinking rationally. When you are going through a time where you are letting it go. Write all the points down about why you do not have HIV.  Tell yourself that your worries are just the OCD and that they are not rational. The test does not contain any of the live virus so it is impossible to get HIV from the test. Write down all the things that people have told you that have helped. Then when you are having a "what if" moment, read the letter.

Then after you read the letter look at the clock and tell yourself that you will not think about it for one hour. Then go do something else. Usually by then you are preoccupied and your mind is not stuck on the worry anymore.

I looked up the material safety data sheet for this product you used and if you look at the composition/information of ingredients it states "this kit DOES NOT contain any live or active levels of HIV-1 or HIV-2". Here us the link.

So you can't get it from the kit. It's impossible. The kit doesn't have any HIV in it.

The night sweats are not from HIV. It's a pregnancy thing. Just tell you doctor about it at the next visit. It's most likely from hormone fluctuations. It's definitely NOT from HIV. Your fine. Hang in there!

Avatar universal
it's not that i fear i got it from the test directly i guess my fear is that someone put their infectious body fluids on it and then sealed it up. Is that even crazier!? would you worry about this? Thank you for taking the time to look all that up! i have done it too! I'm really working on letting go I can do this!
Avatar universal
There is no way that would happen! I honestly would not worry about this. It's time to let this go. You sound like you are ready to let it go. You can do it!  Honestly 0.00% chance of getting HIV from that test.
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