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As much as a heterosexual engaged man could completely love you -WOO HOO, he DO!
Sep 29, 2006

Dear Dr. Bob:

I don't know if you will post this message but I just wanted to say a heartfelt THANK YOU!!!!!! to you I want you to know how you helped me & truly touched my life!

I posted a question to you when I was completely tripping out with my phobia of having HIV (which probably won't help you distinguish exactly who I am :) & I live in Toronto & was completely overwhelmed right when the HIV/AIDS conference was going on!

Anyhow, I have a WOO HOO to share with you but I know you knew that was coming! & a WOO HOO for dealing with & hopefully addressing for once & for all this phobia I have! I am making huge progress.....I wanted to wait to write you until both were accomplished!

What I really wanted you to know is that you answered my question at the perfect time, I was just about to freakin' lose it & then I got an email telling me that you had responded. As corny as it sounds, it was like a message from God & I asked Him for one & he sent me you!

It meant the world to me at that time to have you respond (as your opinion was the only one that seemed to matter) & for that I will always adore you! I actually cried when I received a response from you...

My fiance also wanted me to tell you too that as much as a heterosexual engaged man could possible love a doctor in cyberland he does!!!!

You've also taught me the beauty of hope-I received the materials for your foundation & I am in awe of what you & your partner have accomplished.......

As such, I have decided to donate all my shoe & purse money to your foundation over the next year....because really, who needs yet another pair of pumps or Coach bag when there are people out there who need that money much much more!

I will do what I can when I can as often as I can!

With your compassionate & generous spirit you will be blessed & loved forever!

Keep up the good work, you've changed someone's life for the better and I will never forget what you have done for me. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Yes, of course I remember you! I'm delighted my WOOO-HOOO prediction was indeed correct!

Thank you for your very kind words and generous donation. Together we can and will turn the tide of this pandemic!

I'm also flattered your heterosexual fiancé loves me. He's the third straight guy this week. (Maybe I need to change colognes?)

Be well. Stay well. Congratulations to you and your metrosexual beau! I wish you both peace, health and enduring romance.

Dr. Bob

HIV/AIDS Conference in Toronto & Irrational Fears

Aug 20, 2006

Hi Dr. Bob:

I just love you and appreciate the work you do! Your humor and candor are just what people need sometimes-I am one of those people! I just donated to your foundation and I wish I could give everything I had to fight this war against HIV/AIDS.

I have a comment and a question...first: I wanted to say that living in Toronto and working right across the street from the HIV/AIDS conference that is wrapping up this week was a mjor thing for me....it raised so much awareness and to see all these people come from different parts of the world to help in this battle it was truly awe inspiring..

I am one of those irrational fear people...yes, I can admit it. I have been with my fiance for about a year & a half and we both tested negative about that time ago when we first got toegther and wanted to go without protection from STIs. We decided to get tested for all STIs including HIV & all were negative. Since then I have been convinced -outside the bounds of rational thought-that some possible exeperience in my or his past could lead to a HIV positive result now & as a result of my anxiety, my fiance & I decided to go get re-tested to try and quash my irrational fears. Right now I am still waiting for the test results (why do they need three whole weeks??)and I am in full blown panic mode filled daily with anxiety of being HIV positive. (Don't worry Dr. Bob-I am also seeking professional help as well. I find it hard to think of anything else and its causing major strife in my life. I can't work, I can't concentrate, I am draining my poor fiance who I think has considered smothering me with a pillow some nights!

I know its not really possible to be HIV + as we were tested when he was 3 mths from his last possible exposure (protected sex with a girl-one night stand thing) and I was 6 mths from my last possible exposure (ex boyfriend who didn't like fidelity too much) and we are monogamous & don't have any other exposure risks but sometimes I am literally overwhelmed by the anxiety of a possible positive result. This fear is completely overtaken my life!

I do wish I could get reassurance from you that the odds of my pending results will be negative and I can hopefully move on with my life and get over these fears (please don't hold back on these calming words-dr. bob...) I am really just fascinated wondering why there are so many people like me out there filled with this irrational/obsessive fear of contracting HIV? Why does this happen to certain people & not others? My fiance is not worried at all! I mentioned the HIV/AIDS conference because as I am sitting there on my lunch hour obsessing over my doom & gloom scenario I look over at the people leaving the conference and I am also humbled by the people who ARE truly affected first-hand by this disease and want to affect changes and I know that in the end if I was to test positive my experience would not be like so many other womens' in many places who would simply suffer wihtoutany support or assistance and face stigmatization and it makes me feel ashamed for being so scared! So simply: can I please get some reassurance and some understanding on why these irrational fears are so common so maybe I can get a grip (FINALLY) and use this energy to actually do something meaningful to help to pandemic!

Thanks Dr. Bob & PS I did look in the archives and didn't find an answer to this one :)! Keep up the wonderful work, you are an inspiration!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Too bad that ferry isn't still running between Toronto and Rochester. You could have hopped on, floated over to my hometown, gotten an HIV rapid test with results available in just 20 minutes, found out you are indeed HIV negative, yelled WOO-HOO, hopped back on the ferry and been home in time for dinner.

OK, here are the comforting words: I'm absolutely certain you are HIV negative. If what you tell me is accurate, HIV is not your problem. No way. No how.

I'm glad you are "seeking professional help," as there is no doubt you harbor unwarranted fears of being HIV positive. Treatment of your anxiety and "full blown panic mode" should be extremely beneficial in helping you confront and conquer these irrational fears.

Why do people have irrational fears? Phobias are psychological problems. HIV is a likely candidate for a phobia for many reasons, including:

1. Fear and ignorance have surrounded this illness since it was first identified 25 years ago.

2. It's incurable.

3. It's associated with marginalized populations homosexuals, intravenous drug users, the promiscuous, etc.

4. It is associated with social stigmatization and shame.

You can read more about all of this in the archives, as I've addressed these topics multiple times over the years. The important thing to know is that phobias, be they fear of heights, flying, HIV, spiders, snakes or even "snakes on the plane," are amenable to treatment with counseling. You might want to give it a try. It sure beats being smothered by your boyfriend's pillow!

Thanks for your donation! I'll look forward to WOO-HOO-ing with you very soon.

Be well. (Yes, you are indeed well!)

Dr. Bob



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