I Have An Irrational Fear Of HIV

“Thank you God, for giving me a sixteenth chance.” Those words (substitute the accurate number) come out of my mouth every three months. Because every three months, when I have decided that the virus has been in my body long enough to produce enough antibodies for the test to detect, I go to the free and confidential health clinic in Chelsea on 29th street and get tested for HIV. The first time I went, I dragged my roommate with me, because I thought it would be nice to have a friend nearby while I hurled myself out a window after receiving the bad news. An extreme paranoia of HIV is incredibly overwhelming and consuming. Luckily I am not too bad – I only have minor panic attacks associated with fear of HIV, fear from logical situations – like the time I thought an e-mail infected me. I used to work for an HIV/AIDS charity, and I know a lot about the virus. I know how I can and can not contract HIV. I know the odds. Yet something inside me is convinced, I’ve got it. Sure, I may not have had sex in two years, or you know – injected myself with anything, but I can feel its presence. Sad, sick nonsense like this is what brings me to Ninth Avenue and 29th street four times a year, and if my insurance company didn’t refuse to pay for my multi-annual physical claims, I’d have a few more of those too.

I prefer to go to a clinic. It has more of a scary feeling to it, but at least I don’t have to wait five business days to find out if my achey foot is a rare first sign of a life altering illness or the result of last night’s interpretive dance. When people tell me they have never been tested for HIV, I legitimately am shocked and in awe of this angelic stress free creature and also in extreme fear and horror of their existence. I mean, regardless of my self detrimental complex about HIV, everyone should be tested. And if knowing your status isn’t enough motivation, then visiting a clinic to write about it in your blog should be. I have managed to coerce three friends to spend five hours getting tested for HIV solely because I forced them to watch as I proved them wrong about my status, and revealed the truth. Which of course is that yes, that guy I made out with 4 ½ weeks ago was a huge mistake. I feel really bad because I’m what you would consider a low-risk person when it comes STDs, especially HIV. I say this not only because I don’t get around very often and don’t use drugs, but also because due to my paralyzing fear of contraction, I have morphed into the most uniquely miserable lover. Whenever I am with someone intimately, which is about once to twice a year, this is what happens: I allow them to give me oral pleasure while I explain during the experience how I am totally interested in hooking up, but I only do oral and by I, I mean you. Its too bad because I’m pretty good in bed. As you can imagine this makes me into someone who may seem like a selfish lover. Luckily I don’t really offend more than a couple overweight grocery clerks per year.


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  • http://exitclov.tumblr.com exitclov

    This is awesome

    • NoahTourjee

      Thank You

  • Nyth7

    You remind me of my sister. She has OCD.
    Just stop getting tested. Stop thinking about it.
    You will be fine.

  • http://thevagabondisland.tumblr.com REI KOZ




    • NoahTourjee

      Your comment makes no sense.

  • Drummergrrl5

    Are you an insomniac too? This is not-at-all related to your story other than in its sheer sense of paranoia, but: when I was a kid (6-10 years old), I was convinced that my little jelly belly was because I was pregnant. Not only would the baby have been 4+ years old upon birth, but I would have also had to have been impregnated by playing house with Hedy, the little girl upstairs.

  • sass*

    ps- love the story.

  • Fionnkelly

    great writing, but this really does take neurotic to a whole new level.

    a ship in the harbour is safe, but thats not what ships are built for.

  • emceesquared

    Fantastic writing, excellent dissection of visceral fear. I went through the EXACT same thing during the mid-nineties – and I'm a (serially) monogamous heterosexual non-drug-using female…statistically a low-risk demographic. I only point this out because it underscores the perverse 'logic' behind my particular brand of fear – fear that the cosmos will catch me 'relaxing' and pull the rug out from under me. Seventeen years later, I'm still alive, only to have replaced the face (to use your metaphor) over and over and over….

  • Brandon

    This was a very touching read. There are so many people who feel the same way you do, including myself. I get tested every three months or so at my university health center and it takes five days or so to get your results back (which actually does suck) The health center emails you if you are negative. Too bad I didn't know this the first time I got tested. I was sitting in huge lecture when I got an email on my iPhone saying “Click here to view your test results” I almost had a heart attack. But aparently if they give you a phone call back you're screwed…..

  • MrPostPost

    This sounds like a common symptom of OCD, or another anxiety disorder. You can search around the internet and find both official medical sources & message boards that describe people with your EXACT fears — both straight and gay.

    Please consider counseling, possibly in conjunction with an SSRI medication. It can work very well!

  • Nopathleftbehind

    This describes me so perfectly. Basic virgins addicted to a bad feeling. This piece actually put things in to perspective for me.

  • NegativeNancy

    Jesus… This explains me perfect. I’ve never even HAD sex yet, I think I contracted it through something fucking stupid like kissing, or maybe I made a blood pact when I was little with an HiV infected kid, or maybe the needle the doctor used was unsanitary, or this and that… FUCK I tested negative..

  • AllGoodThings

    this is me to a point. even the same clinic I go to. reading this helps me see that I’m not the only one that feels this way and that its my mind creating this fear, not my low risk/no risk sex acts. any suggestions on alleviating this irrational fear? 

  • CanisLupus45

    I’m the exact same way about pregnancy, the anxiety, the thinking I am when I’m a virgin, the thinking I’m a special rare case, memorising facts and trying to be logical and it meaning nothing.  Anxiety just picks a fear and latches on, I guess.

  • sqard

    I had unprotected sex…oral also with my boyfriend. i am in fear that I have some really bad disease that will kill me. he says he gets checked because he is a limo driver so has to. But i am so scared?

  • http://micant1812.wordpress.com micant1812

    Reblogged this on My Blog.

  • NoahTourjee

    Oh cool, thank you!

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