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Obsessively worried about contamination at the testing site
Aug 27, 2011

I went to get tested at a local HIV clinic. I had a right-hand finger prick test which was covered with a bandage. But since I have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) I went to the bathroom and washed my hands three times with soap and water. As I was leaving the clinic I opened the door using my shirt and twisted the knob to avoid making skin contact with door knob (a person let me in before) What if the cloth was not enough to shield against any contamination? That's my fear.

After I left the clinic but before I got in my car I removed the wet bandage, but I worried about the door knob having some contaminated fluid. I did have my shirt on top of my hand to avoid touching the door knob but is that enough OR am i just being overly paranoid?

Response from Dr. Fawcett

As you correctly note, your symptoms are consistent with obsessive compulsive disorder, an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive and worrisome obsessive thoughts that are largely irrational. Compulsive behaviors are frequently (and usually unsuccessfully) used in an attempt to manage these thoughts.

Speak with your physician about treatment for OCD. Cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as certain types of medications (SSRIs), have been shown to be effective at controlling these thoughts. A combination of therapy plus medication has been shown to have the best results.

Good luck!

-David



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