[Question #1147] hypochondriac worried and stressed about possible hiv situation

49 months ago
Hello and thank you in advance. My anxiety has kicked in and now 3yrs later for some reason I am worried that I have hiv,  even though I've never had a symptom and from what I read I must be crazy to ask the question... I regretfully went to a strip club with friends 3yrs ago and ended up licking and sucking a strippers boob and played with her clitoris only, never bothered me before but now I've convinced myself I have something even though she was dry down there from what I recall, I didn't taste milk, or secretions or blood at all, but I don't know who was there before me or if there were dried secretions.... Don't recall if I burnt my mouth on pizza earlier that day. Nevertheless I'm happily married  and I've only been with my wife and one other person sexually, was tested 7yrs ago after I we got married  which I was fine, and my wife is good. This is the only mistake I made. I also worry that since she has a low risk strain of hpv that wasn't detected until a year ago at a checkup,  that she might not be able to fight off this strain because of me possibly giving her hiv or something to weaken her immune system.  She was never tested for hpv in the past as her paps were always normal, and just had a baby a year after the hpv test was given that showed the low risk strain . Can giving birth or birth control weaken the immune system and stir up the virus? She also had an hiv test before having the baby that was negative.  Do I need to be tested? Please help. Thank you!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
49 months ago

Welcome to the Forum.  Sometimes clients' questions lead us to reflect on issues in new ways.  Your question has done that for me as I am trying to figure out why it is that now, three years after the episode you describe, you are now worrying about infection.  Is it related to your wife's HPV? 

Irrespective, the event you describe was, incontrovertibly a no risk event.  There are no STIs which you can get by sucking on an infected persons' breast (if she happened to be infected which is statistically unlikely-even most commercial sex workers do not have STIs) irrespective of whether there was breast milk or secretions present and irrespective of whether or not you had sores of any sort in your mouth.  Some is true for your masturbation of this person- this too was a totally no risk event. 

As for your wife's HPV, this is an infection that we are still learning about.  she may have had the infection that was detected for some time- over 60% of sexually active Americans do by 4 years after beginning to have sex.   Certain events, including pregnancy and the hormonal changes that accompany can promote expression of HPV and stir up previously acquired infections.  Irrespective, in that her HPV is low risk and given her normal PAP smears, the detection of HPV is nothing for her (or you) to worry about.

I see no medical need for testing of any sort and no reason for concern.  I urge you to put your minor transgression behind you and move forward without concern.  I hope this perspective is helpful to you.  EWH

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49 months ago
Doctor I truly appreciate and value the insight that you bring to this forum, to answer your question, i believe the answer is Guilt and shame. I'm embarrassed to have  put myself in this predicament in the first place. It brings me comfort in knowing that a man of your intellect  and expertise is so confident in his opinion, that he can make a statement of  a no risk event and stand behind it with his reputation on the line, that is amazing in itself, I could never be that confident about anything, but that says a lot about who you are! Again I find great comfort in hearing this news. My biggest fear would be knowing that what i did could hurt my wife in any way, and having a baby makes this even more stressful. I don't know if a one in a million chance exists from what i've stated earlier, but sometimes that's enough to make anyone tremble with fear. I believe I made an error earlier when i said she had a hpv test a year before the baby was born, i meant to say a year after the baby was born she found out she had the low risk hpv. Don't know how much difference that makes, i just read that other infections like hiv can cause hpv to stay active. Regardless,  as you can tell I'm a worrier and can spin my wheels into thinking the worst case scenario. Most of my thoughts started when i noticed broken blood vessels on my legs that are orange and yellow variance. I started reading about schambergs disease but also read about another disease that could be related to low blood platelets which can be a sign of leukemia or hiv, so i had blood work done and everything was normal... But then the wheels spun off into this direction.... Thank You again for your expertise, and all that you do for the community of people like myself looking for answers. In your opinion you would be 100% comfortable sleeping at night knowing you are not putting your wife or family at risk from everything I've stated? Sorry and thanks again,  God Bless and good night! This will never happen again.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
49 months ago
Thanks for your thanks.  Your followup  question is a bit repetitive.  If the risk was 1 in a million I would 
Have said so.  I said no risk.  You  are you not going to be the first adult to get HIV from sucking a woman's breast or from masturbation of a partner.  You need to relax and move on.  EWH
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49 months ago
Sorry Doc I know I tend to be repetitive... One last comment,  I don't know in situations like this from a hypochondriacs standpoint, but from what you have seen over the years, do you think that paranoia and some sort of psychosis take over when in fear. For instance I was driving to work and was worried about this issue and was thinking about it constantly, then an hiv commercial came on the radio, it really freaked me out, it was as if my sub conscience was trying to tell me something, crazy i know but i think i tend to stress, dwell, and over think on things to the point that I almost start looking and listening for reasons to freak myself out.... I don't know but it must be a strange coincidence. They say hypochondriacs are developed when a parent or loved one gets sick or dies and for me that happened at 24 with my dad. I think I've progressively gotten worse with my issues. Thanks again for the feedback. i really appreciate your time and effort!!!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
49 months ago

Your question deals with psychological issues that I am not expert in.  My sense from answering literally thousands of questions such as yours however is that when persons have a tendency to be anxious and do something that they are not proud of doing, they tend to dwell on it and to "look" for consequences, often assigning more significance to coincidental events than is appropriate.  When an activity involves something that at least parts of society judge and stigmatize (such as might happen when a member of a rather conservative community attends a strip club and sexually interacts with a stripper - something they would not later bring up in their usual social situations) it can be even more intense.  This however is just conjecture as the psychology of anxiety and how to address it is not  something I am expert in and is beyond the purpose of this forum.

This is my third reply to your questions.  Thus, as indicated by our Forum policies, it will be my last reply as part of this exchange  and the thread will be closed later today.  I wish you the best.  Take care and PLEASE do not worry at all about the events you described in your original question- they were no risk.  EWH

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