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intentional tampering w/piercing
May 7, 2002

i got a navel ring a week ago. the guy took the clamp and needles out of packages in front of me. i have since become concerned that he still could have tampered with the needle and rerapped it. assuming a person did intentionally put infected blood into a piercing needle, would i run a good chance of infection? would placing blood in a piercing needle even be possible without the client knowing? i keep going back to the story about the dentist who infected his patients without their knowledge (years ago). please resond to my deep concern. I am married, monogomous, previously negative (avid blood donator) and need to see my 3 beautiful children grow up. did i risk my life? thank you

Response from Mr. Kull

The only thing I can tell you about your risk is that HIV is not known to be transmitted through piercing. It is an unlikely route of HIV transmission, even if someone was intentionally trying to do it. You did nothing wrong by getting your navel pierced. Hopefully that helps to resolve your fears about this situation.

What you're experiencing could be referred to as anxiety, specifically anxiety about the unknown. Everybody experiences this sort of anxiety at some point in their life. The severity and frequency of bouts of anxiety can vary greatly from person to person. When your anxiety begins to interfere with your sense of well-being, work, relationships, and general day-to-day functioning (like spending excessive amounts of time researching HIV on the internet), you should talk to someone about anxiety and anxiety disorders. This is especially true if you remain concerned about HIV even though the evidence shows that HIV should not be the concern. This may or may not apply to you, but is worth thinking about.

People who have anxiety disorders often benefit from psychotherapy, medications and cognitive-behavioral treatment (a way of modifying certain thoughts and behaviors). Medication and psychotherapy in combination seem to work best for anxiety disorders. A mental health professional could best help you understand your anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the U.S. Many people feel ashamed about seeking treatment.

Visit the page on National Institute of Mental Health's Anxiety Disorders to learn more about anxiety, anxiety disorders, and how to seek out further help if you think you would benefit from it.

RMK



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