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"hiv " scare is affecting me day to day
Feb 4, 2000

some months ago I sat next to a discarded needle on a public train. the needle did not go anywhere near injuring me, but the fear of (possibly) catching HIV from something as "stupid" as a discarded needle has me thoroughly checking train seats, taxi seats and the very ground that I walk on ever since. is this the start of some kind of obsessive compulsive disorder, based on my fear of contracting HIV? sometimes I have to check a public seat 2 or 3 times until I am satisfied that I can sit down safely without being injured by a needle that might be there. I know the link to HIV in this case is more tenuous than in other posts on your list, but it is still fear of the disease that is causing me to do these things, nevertheless. can you suggest anything? thank you.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

It is not obsessive to make sure that since you once saw a discarded needle to insure that every time you sit in public you make certain that there are no used syringes in your vicinity to possibly stick you. This seems a logical and sensible precaution for you to be taking. If the fear does not diminish over time, and you either find it getting worse

or interfering with your daily life then you might want to consider consulting with a mental health professional.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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