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HIV Transmission Paranoia and Anxiety
Jun 18, 2008

Dear Dr. Frascino,

Please excuse me if I have trouble writing out a cohesive and formulated question but hopefully you will be able to understand what I am asking and help me (and others who may suffer from the same problem).

I fear that I suffer from severe anxiety regarding the transmission of STDs (most specifically HIV)

Im very familiar with the methods of transmitting HIV from one person to another however, the small, remote possibilities of transmission (i.e. blood in the mouth of a partner while receiving oral sex or during deep kissing, etc) recur in my mind after Ive been with someone. Its usually never a rational thought but the possibility that it could have occurred (that the blood could have been there and I didnt notice it at the time) haunts me for three months until I get tested.

This paranoia and anxiety has been an issue for me since I became sexual active and Ive noticed it become more and more intense meaning sexual acts that once did not seem to scare me (mutual masturbation) now seem impossible to engage in for the fear of catching an STD.

Ive spoken to an HIV counselor about this and he said it was better to side with safety but I feel like its controlling my sexual life and Im no longer able to enjoy being with someone.

Any help on what to do or who to speak to would be incredibly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You "fear" that you "suffer from severe anxiety regarding the transmission of STDs/HIV"??? Hmm . . . fear on top of severe anxiety; that's a whole lotta worrying going on!

There is no doubt you have excellent insight into your true problem: "This paranoia and anxiety has been an issue for me since I became sexually active." My advice is that you consult a psychiatrist (or psychologist) to help you confront and conquer your totally irrational and completely unwarranted fears related to STDs/ HIV. I do not believe you will be able to handle this very real problem without professional help.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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