I am bipolar, with panic disorder; Should I get tested for HIV?
May 4, 2006
I tend to over-analyze and worry a lot and am probably stressing myself out for no reason, but I'd rather be celibate (I've had more than enough sex to last me) for the rest of my life, than to discover at age 22, I've made a serious fatal mistake somewhere along the line.
If I test positive, I'll kill myself. Testing positive is a death sentence in any case, and I wouldn't be able to date, tell my family, or wake up each morning to get out of bed--there would be no point in living, my dreams and career aspirations would cease to exist.
I'm crying as I write this, and I've been so torn up inside over getting tested.
It's been almost three years since I was tested (negative)and I have mostly used condoms. But I know that in the past I had a very risky sexual lifestyle.
I think I need a support group or something because I don't want the stigma. And I don't want to know. I am educated about HIV, and I'm college-educated, but I can't help the way I feel about HIV. I've never known anyone who had it (or who told me they had it) so it has never really affected my life, but I'm really deathly afraid it has already. Do you have any suggestions or resources I can turn to?
Response from Dr. Horwath
You need to get tested to help resolve your fears. You are avoiding the test out of fears that are not based on fact. With today's treatments, HIV causes a serious and chronic infection, but it is not a death sentence.
You should also get help for your feelings of shame about your past behaviors. If you are protecting yourself now, then the past needs to be put behind you. Finding someone to talk to, such as in a support group, may help you to resolve the feelings of shame.
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