Kelly's Blog

HIV & Anxiety… It’s normal to worry when you have HIV.

Posted in Information, Prevention, Quality of Life, treatment on Friday, July 23rd, 2010 by Kelly - Leave a comment


There are times when fear is good.  It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls.  ~Aeschylus

Have you ever experienced a situation similar to the one described below?   

HIV treatment at the doctorYou are set for your monthly doctor visit. You have been feeling good, taking your meds, working out, and eating well. You stepped into the office and then backed out. The mere sight of it gave you the creeps. After a short while, you tried to step back in and couldn’t. You felt light-headed and your heartbeat started to go crazy. It sent chills up your spine. You felt the urge to run but you couldn’t — your difficult breathing left you immobilized.

What can we do about our fears? Can we stop them? Is there a way to use them to our advantage?

Fear is really designed to warn you. It is your body’s security alarm to keep you from stepping into unknown territory unprepared. If you re-discover the true role of fear in your life, you will find there are ‘good fears’ that lead to a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach or vigilance in dealing with your HIV status.

Fear is not meant to stop you, it could be used as a  means to warn you to be prepared. Fear tells you to think twice before you step out and do something you will regret later. It gives you time or another chance to think so that you can make better decisions and take fewer risks. This is the correct perspective on fear.

For instance, it is perfectly natural to fear getting an HIV test. It is not the test that is the real fear – it is the chance of the positive result. This fear can make you extra careful about the choices in your sex life.

We are also programmed to fear becoming ill or injured, especially the unknown factor in being able to take care of ourselves. This is not to stop us from living each day, but to keep us from doing things that could hurt us. This natural self-preservation is a huge motivating factor in choosing a healthy lifestyle and limiting the risky behaviors associated with HIV infection.

Here are just a few normal fears associated with HIV:

Fear of the unknown – If you don’t know much about HIV and what happens in your body, you might be afraid.

Fear of changes in your status – When your tests are good, you are doing great. But your viral load could go up on the next doctor visit and you worry.

Fear of disclosure – Could somebody at work find out? Will that make a difference with your boss? It is nature to be concerned about what others might think, say or do if they found out your status.

Fear of symptoms – You might get obsessed with each and every twitch or minor illness that you experience because of what it might mean  to your HIV. You spend a great deal of  itme taking your temperature, checking your lymph nodes and searching for signs of infection.

Anxiety starts with persistent worrying and causes a disturbance in your mood and emotional life. Mild to moderate anxiety is nothing unusual after a major life event like becoming HIV positive. But fears and anxiety can get out of control and take over your world if you don’t deal with them.

Want to know more about fear and how to use it to your advantage?

Please make sure you get on my mailing list by putting your email address in the box to the upper right or go to  I’ll have some more information about HIV fear and anxiety coming your way very soon!

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