Hello, I was wondering if I could get other stories from anyone who suffers from anxiety around contracting HIV. I consider myself well educated around sexual health but nevertheless experience crippling anxiety.
I engage, infrequently, in what is classed as low risk activity, or low risk activity where the presence of a sore may increase the risk but based on a low number of confirmed cases, the risk is still classified as low.
The next day I start to question what the risk was, reading online journals and professional texts to learn its low risk. I then start to worry whether I should ask for PEP, knowing I won't receive it. I try to tell myself that this must mean I don't have HIV, because otherwise they would give me PEP. Then I call numerous charities, NHS helpline, THT etc. to ask about the risk and they tell me similar things, that its low. (I donate each time to make sure I'm not wasting their time). I then send questions online to ask the same question. I then book GUM clinic appointments to ask them. Whilst I get similar response each time, that I should not be concerned...I keep searching for a damning response. Its almost as if, because the answer of a test can only be yes or no, then for me it becomes a 50/50 chance.
I stress uncontrollably and check my lymph nodes, wonder whether that ache in my shoulder is a new ache or wonder why I haven't eaten dinner at my normal time. If I have a blocked nose after the event I say "well that can't be coincidence". I wonder then if stressing so much is giving me these cold like symptoms?
The window period is so long it means that everyday for four weeks I am tearing myself apart from the inside.
I then have a test and get a negative result and I am fine until the next encounter.
"oh I had a small mouth ulcer, so I must have it"
"oh I had a superficial cut on my finger, so I must have it"
I know people with HIV and for me its not a problem, just to be clear. And like I said before, I am educated and take precautions where I can (i.e. using protection for penetrative actions).
So please do not dismiss this post as someone who is new to the game and dumb.
I would just like to know if anyone else is in a similar situation and how they are managing it.