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Dilemma - To test or not to test ?
Dec 29, 2000

Hi ! I consider myself as someone who belongs to the 'worried well' group of people. For the past few years I have been paranoid about getting infected with HIV. The most recent ( started 2 years ago ! ) thing that sparked my worry was about me using a shared nail clipper ( with someone who frequents prostitutes ) to pick my healing scabs ( you may have read about this before, I have been sending this question many times ). However, Now I have a dilemma. if I get tested, and find myself negative, my anxiety will be erased forever, and I can live in peace. But the problem is, I MIGHT be positive, and if I am, I rather not know ! You see, I am a college student, with few more years to go. If I am diagnosed with HIV, I might have to stop college . I cannot afford to go to college due to the medical bills I might have to pay. Also, my family will surely not let me continue and even if they let me, I don't think I would be in shape to do it. Besides, I am studying medicine and that might be a problem with the college who might not let me continue ( I am not in US, its probably different there ). But then again, the anxiety is killing me ! What should I do ? Should I get tested or not ? A negative test would be big relieve but a + one would be a disaster ! Its better not knowing ! Do I neet a blood test or do I need mental therapy ? Please advice me on what to do !

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I would suggest that you start with psychotherapy to deal with your irrational obsessions with very minor risks.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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