is Malicious/deliberate infection possible?
Feb 8, 2007
Dear Dr. Bob,
First of all, let me say that I appreciate sincerely your work for this website, your answers are well written, very complete and educational.
My question pertains to the possibility of getting infected with HIV at an anonymous test site. After some episodes of unprotected heterosexual sex with a long time friend (I knew her and her family for about 5 years, and it just "happened"), and a condom breakage with another girl that I was dating for about 5 months, I became increasingly paranoid about being HIV positive. This has all happened early in 2005, and then early in 2006. I had no infection symptoms, but I managed to talk myself into believing that I'm +ve and I decided to take the test. I went to an anonymous test site run by the NY state dept of health. The health care worker was very good at doing some initial counseling, explaining the test procedure, etc. Since the test site was in a bad bad neighborhood, and I was extremely stressed out, I felt compelled to wash my hands before he took a drop of blood from my finger with a fingerstick needle. I left the room, went to the bathroom and came back back (about 2 minutes) and in the meantime he had all the paraphernalia ( swab, capillary tube) out and ready for me. My concern is that he also had the lancing device (Haemolance Plus) ready and he did not uncap it in front of me. I know for a fact (I called the dept of health about 4 times) that that particular device locks out after use and cannot be used again. On the phone they guaranteed that they are using a fresh needle for every test. He did everything by the book (I had read the D. of health guidelines for testing before hand), and to my great relief the test came out negative.
Anyway, to get to the questions that I've lost my sleep over: 1. Is it possible that the health care worker has deliberately done something to the needle to infect me? 2. If yes, what are the chances that I get infected? 3. Should I retake the test? Should I do a test for the virus itself rather than an antibody test now? 4. Do you know of any cases of malicious/deliberate infection like this? 5. I'm afraid to go to an anonymous test site again, but if I go to a lab, NY state requires name reporting of +ve patients, and that would be very bad. On the other hand, if I did get infected, I should have some proof that it happened now.
I know this sounds completely paranoid, so please help me. Should I seek psychiatric advice? I'm really in love with a girl, we've been together for almost 1/2 year and we have not have had sex yet, it's a really special relationship and I think I will propose to her soon, the test I took was to make sure that she's safe when we will have sex but now my worries are even worse than before. Please help me...Thank you. And sorry for being longwinded
Response from Dr. Frascino
I've decided to respond briefly to the one central issue in your post.
"Should I see psychiatric advice?" The answer is "absofrickinlutely!"
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