Hello dear friends:
Perhaps my story is not much different from some others stories, perhaps it will give insight to some other people’s similar struggle. I had one sexual contact with some escort 25 years ago in the U.S.A. before being married. After that encounter my fears forced me to test with HIV Antibody Elisa tests after 2 and again 3 years from such sexual contact. Both tests were done in reputable labs in the U.S.A., and both came back negative. Despite those negative tests I could never completely get rid of my HIV anxiety or phobia. You can call it moderate anxiety. Most likely, if I was not afraid to test for the third and even 4th time if necessary, and right away, - I could get rid of that anxiety on the spot since it was strictly focused on that and moderate. However, I was very afraid. Afraid of positive test result despite those 2 negative tests by possible lab error, afraid of false positive test by calculation of test specificity and need to deal with that before it would be resolved. I was trapped in my own imagination about it and insisting fear of it. Instead, I tried all sorts of things like calculations of probability, reading up professional materials on the Internet about HIV (probably by now I could get my PHD - doctorate in HIV), suppressing my thoughts, relaxation therapies, taking to some experts, doctors, short psychological therapy and so on. Anything, but testing again!!! Noting however was good enough. Probably another test would have resolved it much better than anything else, but I was still afraid to test. Since that fear was somehow manageable I kind of learned to share my life with that fear, giving it what it demanded and living the rest for me. I believed that it was better to have half of my life and live with some delusion than finding out about being possibly HIV positive. As a result of that I have lost the quality of my living. Pretending I was O.K. and suppressing it, I could never completely free myself from those obsessive, recurring thoughts about it. What I lost because of it??: - I was never completely happy, never completely realized my educational goals, always over sensitive to any HIV issues I heard, often more stressful and tent for other reasons, often recalculating my HIV infection probabilities to compare with other accidental life events (to regain partial reassurance in view of some other less probable events happening in life around me). At the same time unintentionally I was also minimizing quality of my wonderful wife’s life because of all these. It sort of reminds me a spider who is entrapped in his own spider web as always waiting and hoping for his possession. Finally, after years of this misery I learned from one HIV expert that I should stop worrying about it since: “I have stood the test of time”, after so long interval. That really spoke to me, and soon I got my life back for quite a while. What a difference it was, what a freedom from that fear. What quality of life and peacefulness. But that fear never gave up. It called in about its “rights”. Recently, while reading something, I came across HIV-2 information and its quite longer incubation period. At that moment my whole defense wall (meaning enough time to conclude) have ruined again, leaving me worried about possibility of having HIV-2 now. Old ghosts have returned back to me, despite expert’s assurance of no bases to fear under my circumstances and exposure. I can’t get read of this fear of small possibility, I can not trust that assurance comletly, and here I am again winding up this anxiety as being even afraid of false positive or inconclusive test results if tested for HIV-2.
What I need now to ask – (when sharing my life story with you) - is some push, encouragement, reasons and common sense, exchange of your ideas or experiences, suggestions - what do you think and why? - to go and finally test, since I am ALMOST READY now as still remembering that recent, temporary difference in quality of my life before this started again. Those words, encouragement, suggestions and arguments from others (however simple or advanced) can really make miracles sometimes for one desperate soul.
I trust this will receive your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Kind regards - desperate soul.