Potential Needle Laceration, Happy Ending
Jan 12, 2007
Hi Dr. Bob,
I wrote you a few days ago to ask about the likelihood of HIV from a dirty needle laceration that may or may not have occurred while trying to help a homeless boy. It had been causing me quite a lot of anxiety, superimposed on the anxiety associated with my generalized anxiety disorder.
With the help of a couple of milligrams of Klonopin and a determination (a euphemism for desperation to end the suffering) to get tested, I somehow summoned the courage to get an OraQuick HIV test at a local GLBT clinic a couple of days ago and the result was negative.
Now, as I look back, part of it seems like a [bad] dream. Reading this forum is a mixture of good information and fearful acronyms, like HIV.
I feel personally fortunate, but we're all in this together, and I'm grateful that you and others are around to give so many people reassurance and advice in the face of so much fear.
Although you didn't answer my original query, for anyone concerned about testing, I have some advice. Wait at least three months after your last possible exposure, find a clinic where you feel comfortable (to the degree that that's possible; the people at my clinic were nonjudgmental and everything was very professional), and get tested.
In other words, identify the problem that you're dealing with, come up with alternative plans of action, pick the best one, and then take action.
Fear can be paralyzing and the accompanying stress can harm the body tremendously. A wise man once said that the best way to surmount a problem isn't above, below, or around it, but straight through it.
Confront your fears! Almost always, they're just that: fears! Unlike me, don't let yourself suffer from an idea in your head that was at no time real!
Best of luck, and if there's anything that I can do to help anyone who may have been in similar circumstances as mine, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Response from Dr. Frascino
". . . quite a lot of anxiety superimposed on the anxiety associated with (your) generalized anxiety disorder????" Oh, that sounds uncomfortable. Angst on top of angst is always worrisome. Thanks for writing in and sharing your story. I'm delighted your test was negative. As for not answering your question, please note I'm deluged by thousands of questions from around the globe on a continual basis. And while I read all of them (yeah, I really do), I can only respond to a very small percentage. Your story was similar to others already posted in the archives (have a look!), so I did not respond as I didn't have anything new or different to say.
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