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HIV from Blood Draw, 14 wks pregnant
Mar 27, 2012

Dear Doctor, Thank you in advance for reading my question. I'm hoping you can help me. Currently I am 14 wks pregnant and am having really bad anxiety about possibly contracting HIV through a blood draw. Being pregnant I knew that it was standard to have an HIV test and rightfully so as it can save a baby from possibly getting the disease. I have been scared and terrified for as long as I can remember. I was born in 79 so pretty much my whole life I knew of the disease. I was very careful about relationships and did not sleep around or do drugs. I was nervous about taking the test not because of my husband, (we both got tested when we started dating) but because 2 years ago I went out after work with co-workers who I did not know very well. I drank way to much and blacked out. Since then all I could think about was that some how some way someone had infected me with HIV whether through a sexual act that I do not remember or got stuck with a needle some how. I did not have any symptoms and talked myself out of the fear some how, but it was always in the back of my head. Being pregnant I knew I had to get the test and as the weeks progressed, my anxiety worsened. I mentioned it to my obgyn and he said they tested at 16 wks. At this point I was only 11 wks. I could not go through another month worrying like this if I did not have to, having nightmares every night, not good for the baby. So 3 weeks ago, on my way to work I decided it was time to face my fear. I walked into the doctors office, they were just opening none of the doctors were in yet, but I spoke to the office manager and explained that I was really nervous about the HIV test and wanted to take it early. The technician was in so they said okay. I was literally shaking in the office. I saw the tech had her gloves on and the needle was in the bag. Usually I watch the tech when opening the needle, but I was so scared just looking down. I only looked once the needle was in my arm. My worry is that some how the tech accidentally pricked her own finger and then drew my blood. I was scared that I did not watch her. She drew the blood and then she threw out the needle and her gloves, after that my cotton ball was bleeding so bad, she pressed against it with her bare hands and got me a new one with a band-aid. I didn't think about the finger prick possibility until the next day. My test turned out to be negative. But now I worry that her blood could some how got on the needle and into my vein. I also did not want to accuse someone of this when I don't know if it is true. I asked my doctor and he said that it wouldn't be enough blood even if it did happen. I felt better but then a week later, I started getting an earache and ear crackling (now I have it for almost 3 weeks). Then suddently today on my back I developed a rash. Red flat, slightly raised and flaky. I never really get any rashes. The only thing I've ever had is tinea rash (fungal) which is white spots on me. Nothing ever like this. Now I am more scared then ever that my fear of HIV drove me to get it because I rushed to get the test. Can you tell me your opinion on anything like this ever happening and if it did happen, can a finger prick from the tech be enough blood on the needle to give me HIV. Please help I am so scared. p.s. I am also seeing a therapist to discuss my fears next week.

Terrified girl

Response from Dr. McGowan

Congratulations on your pregnancy.

There is nothing to worry about regarding the HIV test you had. The process you described with the clean needlke and the gloved technician indiactes that they are following correct procedures. You are not at risk of contracting HIV. I think that since you are pregnant you are very concerned about having a healthy baby, which is normal. I support your decision to get therapy to help put your fears into proper context. The next few months will be a memorable and joyous time for you, I wish you the best!

Joe



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