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HIV Anxiety

Hi, I’ve had an HIV phobia for a number of years, and have previously received great risk advice on the HIV Prevention forum.

My reason for posting here however is to gain opinions on the anxiety side of things. Namely my issue is that the thought of HIV following any ‘perceived’ exposures is always in the back of mind, and quickly enters the front of my mind through physical ‘symptom’ triggers, or HIV related news articles, movies, billboard posters etc. Even after the advice given by the HIV forum here, the only thing that seems to settle me is a negative test.

Questions I guess as follows.
- is therapy definitely the way to go? I’m onto my 4th therapist but perhaps haven’t stuck with it long enough to see results.
- should I do all I can to avoid testing over the latest no/low risk (depending on who you talk to) incident: i.e. does testing perhaps CONTRIBUTE to my anxiety in a feedback loop, rather than fix it?

Thank you

2 Responses
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Avatar universal
Hi there, in my opinion the continued testing is probably not helping. I know you know the chances of even getting HIV are very low unless engaging in dangerous activities such as sharing needles or having unprotected sex with a lot of random persons. The thought pattern is what you need to help get yourself out of. Avoiding anything to do with it is one way such as avoiding things that would make you think of it like you listed. Getting tested will just increase your anxiety and while it won’t hurt you just will be an inconvenience having to keep doing it. Definitely keep trying therapy and sometimes it takes a few therapist to find the right one. Try to be open to their suggestions and try different things to help your thinking such as journaling, listening to music, or taking walks. Keeping your mind occupied by staying busy will truly help the most.
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20620809 tn?1504362969
Therapy combined with medication works best. What type of therapy are you having? ERP or exposure response therapy is best and the gold standard for this type of thinking.
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1 Comments
No therapist has ever raised ERP before. To date their approach has primarily been based on CBT.

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