Im Worried About What The Test Involves
Theres no reason to be worried. The test is quick, painless and confidential, and uses just a tiny sample of your blood or a swab taken from your mouth.
Remember the tester is there to help you they do this all the time. You can ask them any questions about what to expect. You can also take a look at our HIV testing section which guides you through everything you need to know about getting tested.
Hiv Testing: Feelings Of Fear Anxiety And Guilt
Taking an HIV test can be stressful. You focus on the risk, however small, that you might be HIV positive.
Even though 99% of tests in a sexual health clinic in the UK are negative, the worry is still real.
It is also stressful because if the risk was recent it will take time to know if you caught HIV.
A test at 3-4 weeks gives you a pretty good answer. A test at 6 weeks is better still. In the UK a negative result after 6 weeks means that you are HIV negative.
This stress from testing is usually okay. But, for a few people, HIV can become an obsession, This is out of all proportion to the level of risk.
Obsessing on HIV risk can lead to problems out of proprtion to the actual risk. This can become a psychological problem.
Worry and stress can cause symptoms that people then assume is HIV. If you are not sleeping you will feel tired and anxious.
A health advisor can talk you through these fears.
This can often be made worse if you feel ashamed or guilty.
- If you usually use a condom but didnt this one time. Or the condom broke.
- If this was the first time you had sex, whatever your age.
- If you tried something new. For example if you are usually straight and had sex with another man.
- If you are in a relationship and had sex with someone else.
- If you were paid to have sex or if you paid someone else.
- If somebody assaulted you. Or they forced you to have sex.
- If you are already an anxious person and for some reason distrust medicine and science.
Facilitators Of Sexual Adjustment
A variety of factors contributed towards positive sexual adjustment after the initial shock of diagnosis wore off. One could be a partners accepting response to an HIV diagnosis: this was a strong indicator of later positive sexual adjustment for the HIV-positive partner.
I told him after our first date. I remember I couldnt look at him so I turned away, and I just felt him lean across and put his head on my shoulder and say he didnt care; he just wanted to be with me Female, diagnosed late 1990s.
“A;partner who was willing to have sex without fully acknowledging the HIV and who glossed over fears of transmission did not facilitate positive adjustment.”
However, this was a complex process that was not always clear-cut. At the one extreme, outright rejection by a long-term partner would severely impact upon subsequent sexual adjustment. A partner who showed excessive fear around sex and who was overly cautious would also contribute negatively towards sexual adjustment.
However, a partner who was willing to have sex without fully acknowledging the HIV and who glossed over fears of transmission did not facilitate positive adjustment either. For adjustment to occur, the partner needed to acknowledge HIV as part of the individual while not showing undue fear. Some participants described this as an ongoing process as opposed to a one-off event.
Only having sex with other HIV-positive people facilitated adjustment for some interviewees:
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Im Worried About The Test Result
If you test negative, you can stop worrying! For a lot of people testing negative encourages them to take more responsibility for their sexual health as well as their partners health.
If you test positive, its better to know as early as possible so that you can get the right treatment and support. Taking antiretroviral treatment means you can live a healthy life, enjoy sexual relationships, and have HIV-negative children if you want to.
Dealing With Discrimination When You Have Hiv
We’ve come a long way in our understanding of HIV and AIDS, but discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS is still rampant. Advances in research have made it possible to live with the disease, as people do with other chronic illnesses. But the greatest challenge for many people is still the stigma that accompanies the illness.
You may worry about what others will think about your diagnosis. Or you may fear coming out as gay or bisexual, or as an intravenous drug user. These worries and fears can encourage behaviors that put you and others at risk. These behaviors include:
Avoiding getting tested for HIV
Not using condoms
Hiding an HIV-positive status from sex partners
Avoiding medical care that can save or prolong your life
Not taking medication as directed
Hiding health problems from your family
The burden of AIDS is much higher among African-Americans. Homophobia and fear of people with HIV/AIDS are particularly strong in the African-American community. These fears mean that many people are afraid to acknowledge their sexual orientation or HIV-positive status. For these reasons, many prefer to risk infection rather than face the stigma of HIV/AIDS.;
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When Should You Get An Hiv Test
The CDC recommends that everyone between ages 13 to 64 have an HIV test at least once in their life. Usually, you can do this during your annual health check. If you havenât had the test, ask your doctor about it.
If youâre at higher risk, you need to be tested more often — every 3 or 6 months to be sure. But Pantalone says the lack of testing also results from people mistaking that high risk for the disease âfits within an identityâ when itâs a virus spread by common human behavior, like having sex.
âIf you’ve had any condomless sex with any person, then you need an HIV test. Even if it’s low risk, you should still do it periodically, because you never know,â Pantalone says.
According to the CDC, youâre at higher risk for HIV if you can answer âyesâ to any of the following questions:
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sex — anal or vaginal — with someone who has HIV?
- Have you had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test?
- Have you shared needles, shared injectable drugs, or other drug injection equipment with others?
- Have you had sex in exchange for drugs or money?
- Have you been diagnosed with or treated for other sexually transmitted diseases?
- Have you been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis ?
- Have you had sex with someone whose sexual history youâre not aware of?
If any of this applies to you, you can benefit from a yearly HIV test even if your last test was negative.
How Does It Differ From Hypochondria
Nosophobia is often confused with hypochondria, which is now known as illness anxiety disorder. While nosophobia involves the fear of developing a specific disease, illness anxiety disorder involves more general worries about illness.
Someone with illness anxiety disorder might worry that minor symptoms, such as a sore throat or headache, are a sign of something serious. Someone with nosophobia might not have any physical symptoms but worry that they actually have a specific, serious medical condition.
For example, someone with illness anxiety disorder might worry that their headache is a symptom of a brain tumor. Someone with nosophobia might constantly worry about developing a brain tumor, even if they dont have any symptoms.
People with illness anxiety disorder are also more likely to reach out to loved ones or healthcare providers for reassurance. Someone with nosophobia may be more likely to avoid thinking about their health or the underlying disease theyre concerned about, though this isnt always the case.
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Initial Reactions To Diagnosis
After diagnosis, three distinct sexual behaviour patterns that emerged: sexual inactivity, no change to sex life or an increase in sexual activity.
Most participants fell into the first category and described stopping sexual activity upon receiving their diagnosis. This was largely determined by fear of transmitting the virus to a sexual partner and fear of rejection upon disclosure.
After diagnosis I was actually scared shitless to have sex with anyone. I thought: ‘No. That’s it, I’m never having sex with anybody ever again. Female, diagnosed late 2000s.
Fear of having to tell someone that youre HIV-positive I think that was the predominant factor for me. Female, diagnosed early 2010s.
Some participants reported no change to their sex lives.
It was good, we were just married, so we were having sex quite often. Just normal sex. Female, diagnosed early 2010s.
Other participants, all of whom were male, described an increase in sexual activity after receiving their diagnosis. They spoke of having condomless sex with other HIV-positive partners as a liberating experience, free of the fear of contracting HIV.
There was this exploration I didn’t have before It was a bit more exciting and I was being a bit more extreme and doing things that I didn’t do before . Male, diagnosed late 2000s.
Does She Have Aids Phobia
Dear Aunty Jimothy,
My friend and I are uni students in Australia. We went to Bangkok a year ago and got a little drunk and crazy. My friend paid a dancer and had sex with him. She felt guilty later and got very afraid of HIV. Shes had all kinds of tests at home and in clinics. The last test was 11 months after Bangkok. Its negative like all the rest, but she says shes always running a fever and has sores in her mouth. Shes scared to death that she has AIDS. Shes so anxious she can barely do her work or have any fun. She spends all her free time on the Internet researching AIDS. Can she have HIV if the tests say she doesnt? Ive read about AIDS Phobia. Is this it?
Seeking Answers in Sydney
AIDS phobia? Somebody hand me my smelling salts! Child, how did you get so smart? I dont know your friend, of course, and Im not a doctor or a mental health professional, but I run into people with irrational fears of HIV a lot.
If Im not careful, I spend more time talking to people with phobias than I do handing out empowering information and fabulous flavored condoms.
Can I tell you a secret? Every HIV educator I know tells war stories about people who cant get over unfounded fears of HIV. Sometimes we have cocktails and dish about it, dear, because its that frustrating.
A PCR test amplifies viral RNA to directly detect the presence of HIV in the blood. The tests are highly sensitive and reliable. False negatives are incredibly rare.
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But That Aint Enough For People With Aids Phobia
According to mental health professionals, people with AIDS phobia develop irrational fears that they have HIV or AIDS even though they repeatedly test negative and even after doctors diagnose them as HIV negative.
People with AIDS phobia can often be so convinced they have been infected that all the negative tests in the world wont ease their fear. They can spend enormous amounts of time on the internet looking for evidence that their suspicions are somehow founded, often times from websites offering anecdotal, outdated, or quack medical advice.
Other people with AIDS phobia develop irrational fears of having sex or of being exposed to HIV in other ways. For example, I once counseled a person who was so afraid of HIV that he wouldnt use a public toilet.
There are others who will do absolutely anything to avoid getting HIV even if it is clearly unreasonable or outlandish. They may fear that stains on a piece of clothing are evidence of HIV-infected blood. They may devise seemingly ludicrous ways to avoid infected during sex, falling prey to products or devices that are not only useless but may put them in harms way.
Hiv: Getting Past The Fear
Nearly 1.2 million people in the U.S. live with HIV. But research shows that more than 160,000 of them are not aware of their status. According to the CDC, nearly 40% of new HIV infections are transmitted by people who donât know they have the virus.
For many, there are several reasons that may hold them back from getting a test. Fear of death, stigma, and being discriminated against or judged negatively in the event of a positive test are some of them.
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How Is It Diagnosed
Nosophoboia is typically diagnosed if worry and anxiety about developing a disease makes daily life difficult or has a negative impact on quality of life.
If youre concerned that your anxiety about diseases might be a phobia, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. They can refer you to a specialist who has experience diagnosing and treating phobias.
If youre experiencing distress that relates to fear of a disease, consider talking to a therapist. In therapy, you can begin addressing your fear and develop strategies to cope with it.
I’m Worried About Hiv And Aids
- There are only a few ways you can get HIV. Know the facts and be aware of the risks so you can protect yourself and others.
- Testing is the only way to know for sure whether or not you have HIV. Whatever the result, you can get on with your life.
- Antiretroviral treatment means that people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. The sooner you get on the right treatment, the better your long-term health will be.
Are you worried about HIV and AIDS? We can help by talking you through some of the most common things people are concerned about when it comes to HIV.
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Typical Problems For Those Who Are Afraid Of Getting Cancer
- They are scared of hospitals, doctors, or indeed anyone who has been in contact with someone who has the disease
- They are unable to visit or be with a relative who has the disease
- They cant watch a TV program or a film which features cancer
- They worry constantly and get repeated medical check-ups and scans to check they are OK
- This fear can lead to obsessive-compulsive house cleaning
Im Worried About What Other People Will Think
A lot of people worry about what it would mean for their future if they tested positive and what other people would think. Just the thought of going to a clinic, or someone seeing them go into the clinic, stops some people from testing. Its important not to let fear get in the way of your health.
Sometimes other peoples negative attitudes towards HIV and other STIs can put people off getting tested. People often have these views simply because they dont understand the facts. If you know the facts about living with HIV, youll feel more confident about ignoring or challenging people who talk negatively about HIV.
Remember, HIV is treatable but only if you know youve got it and the only way to know is to get tested. Testing regularly puts your mind at rest, and keeps you in control of your sexual health.
If you test negative, continue to focus on staying negative, and protect yourself and your partners from HIV and other STIs. If you test positive, you can take treatment to stay healthy. Being on effective treatment also reduces the risk of passing HIV on to your partners.
The most difficult situation is not knowing. If youre HIV positive and unaware it means that youre not getting the treatment and support you need to stay well.
Even if you dont have symptoms, your immune system will be deteriorating and eventually youll get sick so why take the risk?
Testing positive for HIV was not the end, but only the beginning of a bigger journey and chapter of my life.
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How To Overcome Phobia
- What are the Symptoms Of Atychiphobia?
- What are the Treatments Of Atychiphobia?
- What are the Symptoms Of Thanatophobia?
- What are the Treatments of Thanatophobia?
- What are the Symptoms Of Glossophobia?
- What is the treatment of Glossophobia?
Phobia /Fear is a powerful, natural, and primal emotion that first comes into your mind, but it activates a strong reaction in your body. The fear itself is not a big issue, but how we hold it in our minds matters. 3 5 people out of 10 suffer from a phobia. Here we discuss different types of fears, their symptoms, and treatments.
We face different kinds of fears in our daily life like fear of people, fear of failure, fear of death, fear of public speaking, fear of height, etc.;
What To Ask Your Doctor
If you think youâve been exposed to HIV or have what you think may be symptoms, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Getting an HIV test or talking to your doctor about HIV may feel both awkward and stressful. But coming in prepared can help you deal with it better.
Take a list of questions with you so you can get the most reliable information. This can help your doctor come up with a treatment plan that works best for you.
Even if you find out that you donât have HIV, itâs still a good time to ask questions and learn more about how you can steer clear of the possibility of HIV infection. You can ask questions like:
- How can I protect myself from HIV?
- How often should I get tested?
- Does my sex partner also need a test?
- Do you offer counseling on HIV prevention or recommend a place that does?
If you donât want to go by yourself, ask a friend or family member to go along with you for emotional support. If you get a diagnosis of HIV, your doctor can point you to many resources to get you the help and treatment you need to bring the infection under control.
If youâre trying to persuade a close friend or a loved one to get checked for HIV, Pantalone says it may help to have them think of how knowing their HIV status or getting tested for it can help prevent the spread to other people they know.
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