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Scared for my two young daughters! Please help!
Sep 28, 2007

Hi Doctor Frascino,

First I should say that I have very severe OCD about HIV and AIDS, which I am currently seeking treatment for. Often I am able to get buy, but I did have a couple of incidents that I just can't seem to get over.

The first concerns my youngest daughter. The other day I was walking around my work, and noticed that I had stepped on a small piece of paper. I didn't see any blood, but was convinced there must have been. On the way home, I kept telling myself that I was being stupid. I happened to walk into my house and took off my shoes, convinced there was blood on them. I was doing okay, but then I noticed that my four year old was sitting on the floor and wasn't wearing any underwear. I was convinced due to my stupidity that she had contracted HIV, now I am scared to death for her, and wonder if she should get tested. I told my wife, and she thinks I am crazy, and I tend to think it is my OCD yet again, but I can't be 100% sure there was not blood on the piece of paper I stepped in. If there was, and she somehow sat in it without underwear, is she at risk? She tends to play on this floor a lot, and I am somehow afraid that she could have got blood on her genitalia.

I also had another incident with my oldest daughter. The other day I got a small cut on my hand. During the morning hours it was still a bit fresh. Later during the day I bought a pack of cigarettes, and noticed that the counter clerk had a small red dot in his hand. I would not say it was blood as much as it was a small cut. Somehow I was convinced that he got blood on my cigarettes, but kept telling myself it is only OCD. I had a lighter in my pocket and was convinced that his blood had wiped on to my lighter because it was against the cigarettes he handed to me. Later during the evening, the lighter had rubbed against my cut, and then later my daughter by accident grabbed my hand. Are we somehow both at risk?

The worst part is the OCD. It seems like every time I try to say that I am just being stupid and that it is the OCD, not HIV, it backfires, and I begin to feel that deep down I am trying to infect myself and my daughters or family. It is a brutal and vicious cycle. The doubt is the worse part. I dont want to be scared of HIV, but no matter what I do, it comes back to haunt me, and feel like I have to go get a test at the six month window. What also kills me is there is no way I can know if my daughters are okay, since my wife does not think they need to get tested. Please help me! Am I the only one who feels this way? The Doctors say I need to face my fears, but when I do it only makes me worse.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

After reading your post, I absolutely agree with your self assessment: "I have very severe OCD about HIV!" No doubt about it!

As you probably realize, your fears are indeed irrational and completely unwarranted. The potential risks you describe are completely nonexistent.

You report you are currently seeking treatment for your OCD. There is no doubt that treatment, at present, is not very effective. Are you seeing a psychiatrist? If not, I would encourage you to do so. Print out a copy of your question and my response and show it to your therapist at your next visit. Living life with such anxieties cannot be easy. Effective treatment for COD is available.

One other point I must make. You report buying a pack of cigarettes. I strongly urge you to quit smoking. If you don't, smoking will indeed kill you in a very painful and undignified way. This is a very real health risk for which you should have every reason to be extremely fearful.

Dr. Bob



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