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worried for others
Oct 26, 1999

Dr., I'm going crazy here. I have this intense fear that I'll infect others in my house. If I floss, and then breathe near something, I have to wipe it right away in case any blood came out of my mouth. If I go to the bathroom, I have to clean thoroughly for like 20 minutes until I think it's OK. I've heard you can't be infected in household settings, but that doesn't seem to allay my fears. Is there anything you can tell me to help? It's just getting kind of tough. Did you have this fear? Is it unfounded, ie. do you really believe transmission can't be caused by this? THank you very much for your help.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

No I never had the kind of fears you describe. I do make sure that my boyfriend and I each have our own razor to insure that we don't come into contact with one another's blood.

You are having what in the profession we call an obsessive reaction. It may be based on any guilt you feel about being HIV infected or how you became infected. Obviously I can not determine this. But I think it would be helpful to you to find a good mental health professional with whom you can discuss these fears and obsessive behaviors in order to receive help in overcoming them.

Good luck.

MIchael Shernoff, MSW



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