I Have An Irrational Fear Of HIV

When you get an HIV test they are not testing for the virus itself, they are testing your blood for your own antibodies that have developed in response to the virus’ presence in your system. Thats why it takes anywhere from 1-4 months to show up. Four might be stretching it, but I tend to do that. I read on a pamphlet or website or something somewhere once that it is technically possible for the virus to take up to 6 months to reveal itself. I cling to that fact as evidence even though I was tested 4 months after my last sexual encounter, I could be an extremely rare case. It’s possible. I really shouldn’t be allowed to hear facts like that. When I worked for the HIV/AIDS organization, I once asked a doctor there about contracting HIV through oral sex. She told me that it is incredibly unlikely, but technically possible. I certainly loved that last part. When I asked her what the odds were she put it this way : in her 30 years doing this kind of work (doctoring exclusively for HIV/AIDS patients) she knew of only one case of HIV being contracted orally, and the person had just had oral surgery. I’m still not certain how safe oral sex is, but the general consensus is that its a lot safer. Of course if you have gum disease, thats another story. Anyway. Because they only test for the antibody and not the virus, I hate HIV tests. They tell you to come back again if you’re negative, in a month or two. That’s just in case. A person like me takes that to mean that even the test is not accurate. My anxiety worsens. I get tested every three months not because I need to, but because I have a sick fear that is obviously rooted in some other mental disturbance. HIV just gets to be its face.

I am basically a virgin who is addicted to feeling bad

Number after number gets called, and mine is skipped. When that happened I knew it was a sign. I “know” a lot of things. Eventually everything is sorted out and your number is called by the person in the lab coat. You follow them, heart in throat, down a corridor, and are directed into a room. This room contains a doctor sitting in a chair. They have your file opened on the computer, and they ask you to have a seat. At this point I am fairly confident about what I am going to hear, and physically incapable of speech. Now is when the doctor looks on your chart and tells you your result. “Well Noah, you’re negative!”. A choir of Seraphim burst into the air while white doves shower the golden sky and I am floating upward – arms outstretched, singing “Hallelujah”. Thank you God for giving me a seventeenth chance. The doctor smiles at me cutely and tells me to “be good” and that she doesn’t want to have to tell me any bad news in the future. I think to myself that this woman must think I have had unprotected intercourse before, or shared needles or something. In reality I am basically a virgin who is addicted to feeling bad. I smile looking forward to 12 hours of ecstasy style bliss. On my way out of the building I remember that 9 weeks ago I kissed a guy when I was wasted. I have to go back to Chelsea in three months.


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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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