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still scared

Aug 21, 2008

Hi doctor, I am the '4th time lucky' guy who believed he may have sustained some form of needlestick on a public bus. I had managed to stop worrying over the seemingly stupid incident, however I recently realised that I still have two swollen nodes in my neck, and some kind of lump above my right ear, but it seems to high to be a lymph node? I also have 0.5-1cm palpable lymph nodes in my groin. Finally I also have developed several painful mouth ulcers.

Sorry to bother you again, but do you still think that I shouldn't bother re-testing and should just move in with my life. I can't move on, and I am once again c0onvinced that I am going to be the first non-occupation needlestick infection, even though I never saw a needle.

Thanks, donating and will continue to do so.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your fears remain irrational and unwarranted. HIV retesting is not warranted; however, psychological counseling is! You need help in confronting and conquering your irrational fears. Otherwise, they will continue to arise and make your life miserable.

Thanks for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( Remember, HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. Your problem is purely psychological, not virologic! Get the medical help you need, not more tests that you don't!

Dr. Bob

Please ans doc fourth time lucky! Aug 1, 2008

Hi doc, you do fantastic work here. I have written to you four times now so please answer, it will decide on whether I test again or not.

I recently had a rapid test, just to check my status. It was negative, however about ten days previously I felt a small prick on my arm whilst on the bus, but didn't see a needle. I didn't see any significant cut when I checked the area an hour or so later, and so only started to worry post test, probably irrationally.

Since then, about 6 weeks ago, i have had several symptoms of ARS starting the day after the test, 10/11 days post exposure. They have included a slight scratchy throat with a dry cough at times. Fatigue, and at times inability to sleep. Headaches. Possible swollen lymph nodes on neck, and one assymmetrical node swollen behind the ear. I also lost a bit of weight, possible ten kg on the week around the test. The symptoms have been going on for a month, and I still have the nodes and scrathy throat, plus headaches from time to time. I may have had a minor slight nonconsistant fever, I tested temp with an inaccurate forehead thermometre strip.

Does it sound like I could have contracted the disease to you? My illness was minor, and many of the symtoms may have been in my head as my anxiety has been significant. Can swollen nodes from HIV be assymetrical, and how noticable would they be? Could you get HIV from a needle that had been left on a hot bus for 5-10 mins+? Should I be re-tested, considering this new "exposure"?

Please answer doc I really need to be told that my worries are stupid so that I can resume my life?

Thank you, by the way I am already donating and will continue to do so. Another WW?

Response from Dr. Frascino


There are a number of questions very similar to yours in the archives. That's why I didn't respond to your first three attempts. Have a look!

Consequently, I'll only respond briefly, OK?

". . . started to worry post test, probably irrationally." I absolutely agree!!!

". . . many of the symptoms may have been in my head as my anxiety has been significant." Again, I absolutely agree!!!

". . . I really need to be told my worries are stupid so I can resume my life." OK, here ya go. Your worries are stupid! Now get on with your life! OK?

". . . Another WW?" Yep! Absofrickinlutely!

You don't need any more HIV tests. However, you do need some counseling to help you confront and conquer your totally irrational fears of HIV.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

Do I have HIV? PLEASE help!
worried about having HIV

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