..

..

To REGISTER, LOGIN or access more options, press MENU on mobile.

Forum breadcrumbs - You are here:OCD ForumOCD HELP FORUM: CONTAMINATION OCDHIV OCD

HIV OCD

Quote

Another day another setback, lol. Here in England the two communities with the highest rates of infection are African and gay men. As such I go to great lengths to avoid them whenever I can. 

No such luck today however. My Amazon package was delivered by an African male and as such, I have to remain indoors for a minimum of six days in order to be absolutely sure any blood that he may have left on the garden gate will not pose a risk to me. 

If I keep staying indoors again and don't go out and exercise I'm going to get another blood clot in my leg (I stayed indoors three months the last time this happened and had my first blood clot then) and perhaps I won't survive the next one.

I really want to be able to look at this major obstacle as a challenge that I must overcome,  but it's so frightening for me. If there's any blood left on the gate it really could be contaminated. 

I guess what I'm really asking is how do you find the strength and courage to face one of your worst nightmares?

Quote

From where the blood will come on your gate? Even if you imagine hypothetically that he was bleeding and there is any blood on your gate the virus dies within a minute outside human body and poses no risk to you or anyone.

Quote

Because I occasionally receive packages that have a drop or smear of blood on them, I tend to believe all packages (and therefore the delivery person) will have some blood on them, even if it's not visible.

As the CDC says the disease can stay active for 5-6 days,  I do not feel safe being in close proximity to anything (such as the gate) that may have some blood on it. Therefore I hide away. 

Looking back now I can see my OCD has blown the situation out of all proportion however. Always managing to convince me the absolute worst case scenario will happen (no matter what the chances are. Now time has passed I'm ready to try challenging the lies again. 

Thanks for your reply, I know OCD greatly exaggerates any danger, hopefully I'll find the courage to tackle these larger challenges and one day overcome my fear 😀👍

 

Quote

Hello,

 

I can tell by your post that you have a confirmation bias where the only conclusion is that you will get infected regardless of the facts. There is no amount of evidence anyone can give you that will convince you otherwise thusly you must accept that the only way to overcome this fear is to assume the risk. Clearly you have two major triggers: gay men and Africans. Your ultimate goal should then be to be in the presence of these people without performing compulsions. You need to work up to that. 

start by going outside after a package gets delivered and stand by the fence. Stand there until the anxiety subsides by half then refuse to ruminate. By that I mean stop thinking about the fact that you may have contracted hiv. The fear is there already stop directing attention to it and go about your day. If even this is too high you need to make a hierarchy and start with something that is a 5/10 on an anxiety scale. It should be difficult and feel unsafe but not impossible. Eventually you want to be able to stand out there and say “maybe I will contract HIV, I may never know” and then don’t try to find an answer or convince yourself otherwise! Just let that question sit there. Work up to touching the fence. Meeting the delivery person at the door and going to a gay bar or an African community gathering. 

the point is not the exposures but the response prevention. You are avoiding and ruminating. If you touch something, don’t wash your hands. You can start by not washing for x mins but work to not washing at all. 

the only way to face it is hard work and accepting the risk. No one and I mean no one will be able to convince you it’s improbable. No amount of evidence will make you safe. You have to take the risk and refuse reaction (compulsions). Write out things you’re avoiding, I’ve given you some ideas already, and rate them on a scale of 1-10. Write down what you do in those situations to keep yourself safe. Start at a 5 and expose yourself to it and - this is key - DON’T DO ANY OF THE THINGS YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF SAFE!! This includes mentally/vocally reassuring yourself or analyzing the situation. It can be as simple as opening your door right after a delivery person leaves and shutting it and then refusing to tell yourself that you don’t have hiv or looking up anything on the internet or trying to figure out if you do. Assume the risk.   Your anxiety will rise, peak, and then slowly come down. If it lasts longer than 90min It might be too high of an exposure. It may only come down by half and then linger for hours. It may not come down by a lot at all if it is a higher level. This is all normal. The point is to learn that you can assume the risk. Not that it will never happen. Start at a 5 and stop avoiding everything 4 and below! Just make yourself do those without response to them. 

do the exposure 3-10 times a day, every day. You can even do two or three at one time, especially if you’re doing 4 and below. Then do 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 with the goal of being around these groups of people without response or rumination. You should be able to greet the delivery person, touch your door, and hang out with groups of people that scare you. No one can give you the courage you just have to accept the risk. That’s why you start at a 5 and not a 10. Be committed and do it no matter how unsafe it feels or how bad of a day you are having. Stick to a schedule, do it on schedule and REFUSE RESPONSE!! Don’t reassure yourself, don’t analyze, don’t look stuff up, after the exposure you go on about your day without undoing all the work upu did during the exposure. Do the exposures even when they don’t scare you anymore. Avoidance is how ocd starts. Keep doing them. Stay committed. That’s the only way. 

best wishes. 

Quote
Quote from Guest on January 3, 2021, 1:02 pm

Another day another setback, lol. Here in England the two communities with the highest rates of infection are African and gay men. As such I go to great lengths to avoid them whenever I can. 

No such luck today however. My Amazon package was delivered by an African male and as such, I have to remain indoors for a minimum of six days in order to be absolutely sure any blood that he may have left on the garden gate will not pose a risk to me. 

If I keep staying indoors again and don't go out and exercise I'm going to get another blood clot in my leg (I stayed indoors three months the last time this happened and had my first blood clot then) and perhaps I won't survive the next one.

I really want to be able to look at this major obstacle as a challenge that I must overcome,  but it's so frightening for me. If there's any blood left on the gate it really could be contaminated. 

I guess what I'm really asking is how do you find the strength and courage to face one of your worst nightmares?

Hello, 

I think that everything was said in previous comment. You need to accept the risk. If it helps somehow I can tell you that I used to suffer from the same. I was terrified to touch something outside. Sometimes I couldn't get to the shop because the door was not open and I didn't want to touch it. I have to wash my hands all the time but only at home. When we went for a trip somewhere I didn't use the toilet all day long till we didn't come back home. Hence I absolutely understand you. But today I do not have anything like this. I can touch everything outside, I can go to the public toilet, I do not have any problem with it. To be honest I do not really remember how I overcame this because that time I thought that it is only me who has such a problem. I didn't even know that something like OCD exists. I simply overcame it. I was probably fed up of being scared all the time. I noticed that I am hiding from people and this was so frightening. I simply wanted to live my life. And see? Nothing happened. I am still here, I am alive, I do not have HIV. It has been about 15 years ago I suffered from this. Just try to ignore those feelings of uncertainity. Do not wash your hands, go outside, do not avoid people. If someone is gay or African it doesn't mean he or she has HIV. There are many non African people and straight people who has HIV among us. Please do not hide, do not avoid people, friends. Really it is pointless, trust me. And do not allow OCD to steal your life. Everytime you feel anxiety remind yourself that it is 'only' OCD trying to get you back. 

Quote

I just want to thank the guests for taking the time to reply to my posts. You have given me much food for thought and I will need a little time to digest it. I will post again soon when hopefully I've started putting into practice some of the suggestions you have given me. Many many thanks for your help and advice, it's much appreciated.

Quote

Hey man, I really feel you. I am a gay man and I am terribly scared of HIV (for obvious reasons), it's my main ocd theme. As the community is promiscuous, I have severe trust issues regarding sex & finding a partner. That was just a quick intro. 

Now to ur problem... I have made a veeery thorough research on this topic (uhm... reassurance 😅). And there are only 4 known ways of transmission (for decades of research studies): sex, drug use with shared needles, (formerly) blood transfusion and from mother to the fetus. There have been some suspicions about razors, too.

But HIV virus is very fragile, it won't survive on the open air for more than a few minutes. There are other diseases like hepatitis which can survive longer but not HIV. That means that even if u touched infected blood, if it's dry, you cannot get hiv. Actually, unless u rub the fresh blood stain with your open wound, which u probably won't, u r safe. You need to get a certain viral load into your blood stream (you can't absorb it through skin without a wound) . So you cannot get it from touching an object. Unless it's floating in a puddle of fresh blood. Same with touching people, handles etc. Unless you rubbing ur fresh wound in somebody else's fresh wound (don't mimic Vinnetou), there's no way how the virus could infect you. Same is true with the other transmission ways. If you protect yourself during sex (and as a heterosexual u have much lower risk than gay people) and aren't heroine addict, you're ok. Get well soon!

Martin