IBS sufferer literally sick with worry.

Question

I'm writing multiple e-mails to ensure a Monday reply.

I'm a state college student with a severe case of hemhorroids, and an even worse carse of IBS, which causes any worry I feel to make me physically ill, so I would very much appreciate it if you could reply to this as soon as possible.

Due to my terrible hemhorroids, for the past year or so, I have been wrapping a finger in toilet paper and dipping it in toilet water and inserting it deep into the anus to cleanse. I'm well aware that this is not the most sanity procedure in the world, but I had never heard of hemhorroid toilet paper, was embarassed about the problem and was desperate to get rid of this burning pain.

Anyway, it suddenly occured to me with vengeance about a month ago that I may have come in contact sometime throughout that year with hiv-infected blood in fecal matter that I did not notice, thrusting it up into my anus, thus infecting myself. This is a rather complicated and absurd route for infection, I well understand, but in a school of 8000, with me using about 20 different toilets in the course of that year, is it a remote possibility? I scraped the side of the bowl many times and, while I'm almost positive I flushed every time before I used the toilet, what if it didn't all go down? I know excrement and urine contain minimal concentration of the hiv virus, but what if there was blood present? There was a lot of toilets and, having ibs, I have to go many times? Am I being absurd? I asked my doctor and the hotline, but they sort of blew me off and didn't listen too well to my questions. I can't afford to get tested, so should I worry about it or not? And one last question, before I get out of your hair: is hiv, whether detected early or late, still a death sentence? Perhaps if I knew that - even though I most likely do not have it, but not being able to afford testing to confirm - I still had a good decade or 2, or 3 in me, even if I was infected by random chance, then I wouldn't be so worried.

Basically, what I'm hoping to hear from you is an almighty "You're being ridiculous," but, still, I'd like to be aware of the possibility, no matter how slight.

Anyway, thank you very much for your time and have a nice day.

Answer

I'm not trying to blow you off, but the concerns you are presenting are not related to HIV, since HIV is not known to be transmitted through the behavior you are describing. People are primarily infected through sex, and then through sharing needles: if you are not engaging in those activities, then HIV should pretty much be off of your radar.

However, I am concerned that other people aren't listening to your worries and discomfort. It is important that you find someone in your life who can help you deal not only with the physical symptoms you are experiencing, but the emotional ones as well. Do your best to find the appropriate support in your life--in person.

RMK