Terrible fear of HIV which is ruining my life...What should I do doctor?

Question

Please doctor I need your advice desperately,

I have this pathological fear of HIV. I have never had sex, I have never done drugs, I have never received a blood transfusion, and my parents don't have it. However, I remain constantly terrified of HIV. I fear it all the time. It is one fear after the other. I fear that there is contaminated blood all around me and that people are trying to infect me. I fear barbers, I fear sports, and I even fear contact with people I don't know. This fear is ruining my life. I fear testing because of false positives. I have been reading stories about how people have received false positives on their ELISA and how autoantibodies and other conditions can cause it to be negative. That is why I fear donating blood because their tests are really sensitive and I fear that I might get a false positive. These thoughts haunt me and I am on the brink of jumping off the RFK bridge. Not existing would be a better fate than constantly living in fear and agony.

Please doctor how can I overcome this fear?

Answer

Hello,

The best way to confront and conquer irrational fears is to seek psychiatric help. Counseling (psychotherapy) can help folks overcome pathological fears, whether they are related to HIV, snakes, spiders, heights or to fears of being secretly related to Dick Cheney. Ask your doctor for a referral. It's much less painful, less messy and more logical than swan diving off the RFK bridge.

Dr. Bob