HIV & AIDS Fear and Anxiety
Perhaps one of the most feared medical diagnoses which patients would not want to hear is the diagnosis of being Human Immunodeficiency Virus positive (HIV+). The fear of being infected with HIV is not uncommon. However, for some, this fear can be debilitating and can impact their daily activities and lives.
AIDS as a Relatively Recent Disease
As a relatively recent disease, AIDS was brought into light in the early 1980’s. Because of this relatively recent discovery, there is still much that is unknown about this disease, and this lack of knowledge and understanding has percolated to the public in the form of much fear and anxiety towards the disease. A lack of understanding can often lead to misunderstanding, and when it comes to health, this is no exception.
Who is at Risk for AIDS
Along with the misunderstand regarding AIDS and HIV itself, there is also misconceptions regarding who is at risk and who can actually get the disease. While there may be a higher propensity to become infected amongst those which use intravenous drugs as well as homosexual individuals, the infection is by no means limited to just those populations. Also, the spread of the disease has developed it’s own stigma with common beliefs that the disease can be passed on from one person to another just by contact or though the air. This is obviously untrue with no scientific basis at all.
If the constant worry of being infected with the disease bothers you, begin by first being tested for the disease. Once you receive the results, it may lay to rest worries and concerns about being infected. The greatest way to combat irrational fear and anxiety is education regarding the disease as well as learning how to avoid infection with the disease (safe sex practices, avoiding sharing needles, etc.). This can also help combat any irrational fears you may have regarding contracting the disease.