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You are my only hope
Jul 17, 2009

Hi Dr. I'm a 21 year old boy. I don't know what is happening to me doc. The more I read about HIV/AIDS, the more I feel I'm having the virus. It may sound crazy but its true and you have to help me with this. Ever since I've got to know the fact that AIDS is the deadliest disease of all times, I've become over cautious in all my actions. I take care of even slightest of my actions to make sure I don't do anything which may make me infected. I haven't done anything wrong, never had any blood transfusions, or infected needle exposures, nothing. One confession I can make is that I used to masturbate a lot. I've read in your forums that it is completely safe and normal. But I cannot get my mind out of it and all day keep on recalling things of the past, like what if I masturbated using something infected? As told earlier, I've never done anything wrong in life. But I've read about people getting infected even without doing anything wrong. The situation has got so worse that I've almost thought myself to be positive and have lost all interest in life. I request you doc to please help me. Help me with this situation. Also, I know you shall advise me to get tested, if its getting on my nerves. But, I cannot do that too. What would I say to my parents? Why do I wanna get tested? When I've done nothing wrong, whats the point in getting tested? But, still like I've said I've developed a fear of the disease and the fact that its symptoms take quite a few years to appear haunts me a lot more. All I've done sexual is masturbation and nothing else and dats for sure. Please doc, I want to end my worries. i am sick of them. I want to live with confidence. Shall be really really greateful if you reply.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

"Also, I know you shall advise me to get tested . . . ." Actually no, that is not what I would advise! You state repeatedly you've had absolutely no HIV risk exposure. (Masturbation is not an HIV risk. Period.) Therefore I see absolutely no need for you to get an HIV test. Your problem is not HIV, but rather fear of HIV. You need treatment for "fear" not tests for HIV. I strongly urge you to seek psychotherapy (counseling) to help you confront and conquer these totally irrational and completely unwarranted fears.

By the way, why are you so concerned about what you would say to your parents? You're 21 years old. Time to grow up and take responsibility for your health. If you need to discuss this with your folks, tell them you're depressed and anxious and need to talk to a therapist. This is the truth and it's all they need to know.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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