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anxiety disorder caused by hiv fear?
Jul 12, 1999

I was wondering if you knew how common it is to doubt the accuracy of the hiv tests. After a low risk exposure I became convinced that I had hiv. I have tested negative after a year and also tested negative on a dna pcr test. For some reason I can't seem to get the specter of hiv infection out of my head. I also came down with many other diseases(in my head. I thought I might have some rare subtype, but I doubt it considering that I thought I might also have polio and Lou Gehrigs disease. Everyone thinks I have an anxiety disorder and finally I am starting to believe them.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Unfortunately fears of having contracted HIV from a low risk sexual experience is one way that many people manifest guilt about a sexual experience that they do not feel good about. Part of how this manifests itself is by not believing the negative test results. Not being a researcher and not being familiar with the research in this area I can not give you a scientific response to how common it is. But from my own empirical experience responding to questions at this forum and in my own practice, I can tell you that in people who haa a predisposition to anxiety it is a very common and very serious symptom of an emotional and mental condition that really needs to be professionally treated if the person is ever going to feel better. Michael Shernoff, MSW



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