Unprotected Sex, Regrets and Fear

Hi Christine,

I recently went through a really low time. My coping method was to have sex without protection. I regret it everyday and am extremely scared about HIV. I canít find the courage to test but I feel I should take one. If I were to test HIV positive, Iím afraid Iíll sink even lower.

Any advice?



Dear Maureen,

You are not alone. Everyone, everywhere on earth acts in ways they later regret and many engage in potentially dangerous activities when going through tough times. Sadly, people in profound pain may adopt harmful behaviors as a way of life.

All of us have done something we later wish we hadn't, and with rare exception, feel guilt and regret. Fear of AIDS is often a manifestation of the guilt we may feel around sexólike a modern-day version of the threat of burning in hell.

Please consider forgiving yourself for expressing your pain in a way that no longer works for you. No need to measure your pain against anyone else's to justify what you did.

With regard to taking an HIV test, since the tests don't test for HIV or for any specific or unique markers for HIV, it's hard to recommend testing. What testing may do is alleviate your concerns or lessen your guilt, but what it can't do is tell you if you actually have an HIV infection.

Please note that if you do decide to test, according to the calculations of mainstream AIDS experts, odds are in your favor that you will come up negative. A negative result may allow you to forgive yourself and move on.

If you were to test positive, according to my research and experience, your biggest challenges will be emotional and social. Of course, how you might respond to that diagnosis is up to you.

I've been declared HIV positive by several tests, none of which can really tell me if I actually have HIV. Given that fact, I live as a normal human being and just put up with the social and medical stigma of the positive result.

Take care, thanks for writing,


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