Anxiety about getting others infected

Question

Hello,

For the past month I have been struggling with the worry that I can get people around me infected. I am familiar with the modes of transmission of the condition and that HIV is a weak virus that cannot survive that long outside the body, yet despite this, I wash my hands five times when I go to the bathroom, use 70 percent alcohol, have separate utensils.

I suffered from insomnia because I accidentally launched a drop of water into someones eye while drinking, and during that time I had a mouth sore so I'm not sure if it had blood or not. I spent the whole night til morning reading about transmission is unlikely and even texted my doctor about it but he did not reply. My viral load is 43 then latest is 38 copies,

I realized that I'm rambling, I'm sorry. I live in ac country where mental health support is not really a priority and most cases of mental breakdowns are referred to priest and religious counselling.

I feel sad, because despite whatever I read, i still need reassurance.

Do you know any resources I can visit or read about what I am feeling, I tired of searching on the internet only to find people who don't have the disease tell me its all in my head and to get a prescription. At least with this site, I can get an authoritative answer.

Thank you for reading, and I appreciate this website a lot.

Answer

Thanks for writing. I'm sorry to hear that you have had concerns that have caused such high levels of anxiety. In my experience it is not unusual for someone living with HIV to be excessively concerned about impacting others, but there are a few things to remember:

HIV is transmitted in only a few bodily fluids and is not transmitted through contact with water. You can find explanations of all the possible ways that HIV can be transmitted here at this CDC site.

We now know that if you are undetectable you cannot transmit the virus to someone else. That is why it is so important to adhere to your medication regimen and keep your viral load at undetectable levels. In the past year many international health organizations have signed onto a statement proclaiming this. You can read much more here and at the website for the<a href="here " target=_new>Prevention Access Campaign .

Serious anxiety symptoms affect almost 40% of persons living with HIV each year. It sounds like anxiety is certainly impacting your quality of life. There are many resources available for anxiety. You might find something useful in this article I wrote on negative self-talk, including "the worrier." Although this may be a limited option where you live, a few sessions with a mental health provider would also be of great benefit.

Wishing you all the best,

David