Feb 10, 2007
Dear Dr. Frascino, I hope you'll find the time to answer this question as my anxiety is getting to pretty high levels.
I have OCD and one of my obsessions is that I might have thrown something/somebody into a dumpster. I know it's absurd, but in high-anxiety periods, I check the dumpster. This is usually a visual check. However, a few days ago, I put my hand into a dumpster to take away some stuff I had thrown away and have a look underneath it. I felt a stinging sensation as I did this. But I tried not to pay attention to it... Was it needle? I do not know. Could have been anything...
Yet I got scared that there may have been a syringe in there. I probably touched a plastic bag that was sitting next to my stuff.
The following morning, I developed a sore throat, after a day I had a little fever and some aches. Now the fever seems to have gone, but I still have some nasal congestion aches and from today diarrhea.
I am becoming increasingly scared, also because I notced a spot that could be a needle injury on one of my fingers....
I should say I live in a seemingly safe, gated neighborhood. But anybody may get HIV. Do you think I should get tested?
I should add that it was very cold below freezing. I don't know if this changes aything.
Thanks for your kind support
| Response from Dr. Frascino
One of your obsessions is possibly having thrown something into a dumpster, so you go back and repeatedly recheck the garbage. OK, I've heard that one before. But throwing "somebody" into a dumpster????? WOWZA, that's really nutso! (Don't you think you'd remember chucking grandma headfirst into a dumpster without having to go back and visually inspect it????)
The chance of your being poked by a needle during your dumpster retrieval activities is remote. The chances of your being stuck by an HIV-positive syringe then become so remote as to be nonexistent.
Regarding your "symptoms" the following morning, these were definitely not HIV related, as HIV symptoms take weeks, not hours or days, to show up!
I'm glad to hear you live in a safe gated neighborhood. If your HIV anxieties and OCD get any worse, you might wind up in another kind of "gated" environment one with padded walls.
HIV testing is not warranted in my opinion. However, the option to test always remains open to you. Now go get granny out of the dumpster and stop worrying, OK?
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