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hiv anxiey,phobia,hypocondria etc.
Jan 13, 2009

Dr. Bob, I want to share my story of being affected by HIV for 12 years even though I am HIV negative. It started in the 7th grade and still effects me now in my mid 20's. It started with a week dedicated to hiv in 7th grade health class, with pictures, activities, and videos. Since then I have had worries of being infected through uncommon ways (everything from flying needles to airborne blood, cuts with infected blood etc. In 9th grade I had to take weeks off of school because of this intense fear I have HIV. I had to drop out of college for a year because I thought I caught the disease in a public shower (with cut on my foot). Then recently I think I caught it from the barber at a barber shop (you probably got my message). HIV is like the king of non-specific very common symptoms which just makes me worry more. I hate this disease and it has ruined the greater part of 12 years of my life and I dont even have it, but I think I do, or can get it other ways besides the ways its really spread. I pray every day there will be a cure and everyone who has this desease will be cured. I question why God (if there is one) would let people suffer who have this disease.

PS: You are truly a saint because you were infected trying to help people directly who have hiv, and even though I dont know you, i feel so angry that you contracted this disease doing non risky behavior. Your partner must also be an amazing person because he is negative and does not let it effect him when it comes to love and relationships. I have gone to psychologists etc. and I always seem to have a fear of having and or getting hiv. It has effected my family, friends and relationships.Hopefully Obama will bring more funding and research into this disease and hope for a cure. One last question and I want you honest opinion: how long till a cure and do you think you will see it in your lifetime? i'm not sure how research works and what progress is being made. Thank you so much for listening to me, i have no one to talk to about this because people who know me dont want to hear it from me.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Will a cure for HIV be found during my lifetime? I have absolutely no way of predicting one way or the other. What I can say is that at the present time I do not see a cure even on the distant horizon. Progress is indeed being made, but we still have a long way to go.

Regarding your problem, I urge you to continue seeing a psychiatrist. HIV-related phobias, anxiety and hypochondria are treatable psychological conditions and you definitely need ongoing therapy to confront and eventually conquer your irrational and totally unwarranted fears.

Dr. Bob



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