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Lundi_Hvalursson

OCD in dating concerning AIDS and other STIs

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I will not repeat my entire history here, as it probably is quite known already, but I am a male who is still single/virgin at 30. I already have a lot of problems in dating and social interactions. However, since I was around perhaps 10 or 11 or so, I remember in sexual education having to learn about STIs, with a special emphasis on HIV and AIDS. Now I remember the well-known ways of infection, i.e. blood, sexual fluids, etc. But on and off I heard how there was a debate about whether saliva and tears were possible dangers of transmission. Also, I have OCD with my handwashing, so I often have open cuts on my hands.

I have zero experience in both relationships and sex, so I have never had any form of sex, never have had any sort of kiss, and have not really held hands other than a few times when a couple times when girls laced fingers with my hands without my expecting it. 

I just realised how my deep fears about STIs, specifically AIDS, also could hinder me in any future relationship. I remember when I was a teenager being extremely paranoid about HIV virii being everywhere, that I wondered if I could get AIDS from kissing even. I remember that when I was a teenager, there was something on the TV news that had said that HIV could contrary to popular opinion be transmitted via saliva if in great amounts. That really scared me and basically confirmed my fears. It did not really matter, since it seemed like no girl wanted to kiss me anyway, but still. Up to now I still have fears about this. Not to mention actual V*****l sex as well.

I try to imagine that in a relationship, I would be petrified of even hand-holding, not only from my own aversion to touch, but also my severe fear that I could get AIDS through cuts in my hands. As much as I would love to have it, I am still concerned about V*****l sex and possible AIDS infections. I have some sort of obsessive fear that what if some woman lies to me or does not know that she has AIDS and then I catch it. I keep replaying this hypothetical over and over in my thoughts.

I am 30, so I was not old enough during the early and mid 1980s to experience the paranoia about AIDS. However, I am just as paranoid as any random person was during for example 1981 or 1982 when AIDS started spreading like an epidemic throughout the West. 

This sounds ridiculous given that I have a degree in biology, so I feel like I should know what really is going on by myself. But I am still confused ever since I saw the TV report that AIDS can be transmitted by large quantities of saliva. French kissing scares me a lot for this reason.

I have some other paranoid fears, for example sometimes I get paranoid if someone is putting AIDS in my food and stuff. But that is a completely different topic/fear.

Are my fears excessive? Or is there some truth to what worries me?

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Hi Lundi.  I'm an HIV/AIDS survivor of 27 years, so I guess I have a li'l experience with this.  Since you're not sexually active, I'll limit the discussion a bit.

Mostly importantly, I want to draw a distinction between HIV and AIDS.  Simply, HIV is the virus than can lead to AIDS if left untreated.  They're not interchangeable terms.  To wit, my AIDS diagnosis wasn't until I'd already lived with the virus over eight years and got sick.  In simplest terms, for a formal diagnosis, one's t-cells have dropped below a certain level AND there has to be the presence of opportunistic infection(s).

Taking a bit of a detour, the way it stands today, if someone becomes infected and gets on treatment in relatively short order - even as simple as a daily pill - the level of virus in their blood will drop to a level, often within months, that they can't pass it on.  (In the current vernacular U=U, undetectable=untransmittable.)

As to risks for HIV infection, I'd suggest the Avert.org site for informed, reliable, detailed specifics.  You mention concerns about saliva and tears.  Regrettably, those are myths - along with sweat and urine - left over from the 80s-90s panic.  (Even in the mid-90s, I had an angry dentist almost literally throw me out of his office, threatening me with arrest for trespass, prior to a ruling on the Americans With Disabilities Act making that kind of behavior illegal in 1998.) 

If I shook hands with you and happened to touch one of your sores, no, there's no risk.  Period.  There's not enough space for me to address every scenario, so I'd simply suggest you get on the site I mentioned.

Considering your particular OCD - which I'm not qualified to address - I nevertheless recognize my words may be small comfort.  What I would add is that SF, having been so seriously affected by HIV/AIDS in its history, has a plethora of resources, some even going back almost 40 years, if you just want to talk one-on-one with them about this issue or any other STIs.

Edited by MarkintheDark

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I wish I had answers to your questions.  I read somewhere that one of the most important questions with regard to OCD is whether it is causing  distress and suffering.  OCD might perhaps be not a point on a line but a range of points.  At some point OCD thoughts and behaviors become counterproductive because they cause a loss greater than the loss that is feared.  I don't know.

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You concerns are well founded.  I live in a very social town (the state directly to the west of mine has a huge STI rate including congenital syphilis). 

I had a bad circumcision as a kid and they had to go back and fix it and it really hurt.  Later on in life I was raped and abused.  So I have a strong aversion to intimacy.

A lot of women will not like the idea of being tested before getting with you intimately. 

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9 hours ago, MarkintheDark said:

Hi Lundi.  I'm an HIV/AIDS survivor of 27 years, so I guess I have a li'l experience with this.  Since you're not sexually active, I'll limit the discussion a bit.

Mostly importantly, I want to draw a distinction between HIV and AIDS.  Simply, HIV is the virus than can lead to AIDS if left untreated.  They're not interchangeable terms.  To wit, my AIDS diagnosis wasn't until I'd already lived with the virus over eight years and got sick.  In simplest terms, for a formal diagnosis, one's t-cells have dropped below a certain level AND there has to be the presence of opportunistic infection(s).

Taking a bit of a detour, the way it stands today, if someone becomes infected and gets on treatment in relatively short order - even as simple as a daily pill - the level of virus in their blood will drop to a level, often within months, that they can't pass it on.  (In the current vernacular U=U, undetectable=untransmittable.)

As to risks for HIV infection, I'd suggest the Avert.org site for informed, reliable, detailed specifics.  You mention concerns about saliva and tears.  Regrettably, those are myths - along with sweat and urine - left over from the 80s-90s panic.  (Even in the mid-90s, I had an angry dentist almost literally throw me out of his office, threatening me with arrest for trespass, prior to a ruling on the Americans With Disabilities Act making that kind of behavior illegal in 1998.) 

If I shook hands with you and happened to touch one of your sores, no, there's no risk.  Period.  There's not enough space for me to address every scenario, so I'd simply suggest you get on the site I mentioned.

Considering your particular OCD - which I'm not qualified to address - I nevertheless recognize my words may be small comfort.  What I would add is that SF, having been so seriously affected by HIV/AIDS in its history, has a plethora of resources, some even going back almost 40 years, if you just want to talk one-on-one with them about this issue or any other STIs.

Hi Mark, thanks for responding and being open about your situation. 

Thanks for that website link. I think that despite being born in 1989, somehow I am not sure exactly how, I received a lot of older information about HIV/AIDS. I remember in school around 1997-2003 when I had sexual education each year as part of science lessons, I ended up with the idea that it had been established that blood and sexual fluids were the main pathways of infection. This is true, but I also got confused when I heard that saliva, tears and hair could possibly also transmit the virus. I remember vaguely that I should be careful about toilet seats and stuff as well.

Also, growing up in San Francisco, my parents and grandparents first heard about AIDS around 1981. They told me to be wary of all sorts of stuff. I think that their information was frozen stuck in the early 1980s, and then when I heard it, I started to become seriously paranoid despite growing up in the 1990s and 2000s. But they saw it first-hand in their own experiences living in San Francisco, and I guess that AIDS was all over the news in the 1980s in this city.

I do remember learning though that open sores could cause transmission of AIDS. Then the news segments I remember around 2004, it was said that they had suddenly discovered that a large amount of saliva would actually transmit HIV virii. Not to mention, I remember in school being told that French kissing for a very long period, such as 20 minutes could possibly cause HIV infections. So I was also paranoid about French kissing and making out. Again, this did not really turn out to be a concern, because practically most girls did not want to kiss me and I never did get kissed, yet at least.

It is a bit better at least to hear that shaking hands with open sores would not transmit HIV infection. I mean it would definitely transmit cold and flu, and it might transmit fungal infections, but that is a different story. 

I remember my parents and grandparents telling me to watch out, what if a girl has AIDS and I kiss her, I might end up like those newsreels showing AIDS victims with Kaposi's Sarcoma in the early 80s. I was being told this in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Edited by Lundi_Hvalursson

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8 hours ago, Rattler6 said:

 

A lot of women will not like the idea of being tested before getting with you intimately. 

Why would they be unwilling? Is it not logical to get tested? Since I am a virgin and have no sexual experience, I could easily get tested without worrying since I was never at risk of STI in the first place. Surely if this is expected of me, that this is expected of them?

Or are you saying that these days there really is a possibility of a woman straight up lying to my face that she could have some STI? I had OCD fears from the past that even if she got tested, she could falsify her test results to trick me. Now they do not even want to get tested to begin with?

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Dialing down the stakes will really help remove some of the obstacles that are preventing you from enjoying a healthy sex life. That said, if your OCD is in part about contamination, I understand the challenges are significant. 

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Hey @Lundi_Hvalursson,

There are a lot of women who would be afraid of being labelled a word in enlgish that starts with S and rhymes with mutt.  I have not asked a woman as I have not been close enough to.  It probably depedends on how it is asked. 

I would google how to ask. 

 

 

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On 12/14/2019 at 5:38 PM, Rattler6 said:

Hey @Lundi_Hvalursson,

There are a lot of women who would be afraid of being labelled a word in enlgish that starts with S and rhymes with mutt.  I have not asked a woman as I have not been close enough to.  It probably depedends on how it is asked. 

I would google how to ask. 

 

 

I do not understand this logic at all. This is a matter of serious disease. Refusing to ask a woman for fear of being "rude" and putting one's life at risk from a serious STI is a ridiculous trade-off. And I would find it perfectly fair if any woman asked me about my STI history if we were close enough. To ask her the same question seems to be only logical.

I would probably be most comfortable if both she and I both went to get tested from the same clinic, so that there is no hypocrisy. I have no STI to hide, not that I would hide any, but I am totally clean since I have zero sexual experience whatsoever.

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I don't think it's rude to ask a woman to be tested.  I think it's in the way that it's ask.  "Her Name, I think we should both be safe, make sure everything is in the clear--let's both be tested to make sure.."  Yes in the same clinic at the same time.  If she reacts or is offended, that would be a sign something's off (I think).  In my humble opinion. 

But here's the thing-- I would hope that enough therapy has been had, that you take it really slow and that s*x isn't in the picture for a while.  Get to know you first, then her, her group of friends, she meets your mom,  be best friends, all that stuff first.  In my humble opinion, that long old-fashioned road.  It's in this phase that you'll learn about her, her choices... Maybe your worries will be eased in the getting to know her.

Wait, if you're asking her to be tested before the kiss?  I still think the right girl for you shouldn't mind?  But this is from my point of view.

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Yes, this is taking into account taking things slowly. Up to now I have never been in the situation, so as of now it is a hypothetical for the future. Very few got to know my mother, as almost never is there a second date due to various differences.

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