It takes two.
Sep 16, 2008
I've come to the conclusion I need help and need to overcome this fear I have of HIV. It's strange, because before the naked man touched my car, HIV was one of the last things to cross my mind - considering, I still have not had sex and have never used any sort of illegal drug. I don't know why this man triggered this fear in me, but it's almost impossible for me to get rid of and I want to thank you again for helping me through this. I've accepted that the man touching my car and the "toilet terror" are both situations that pose no risk for me.
However, there are two situations that have me worrying again. I know I've contributed to your overflowing inbox (and I'm really sorry about this) but a quick answer from you would be reassuring and allow me to get through the next few weeks (rather than focusing on whether or not I will get symptoms). What am I planning to after those next few weeks though? Seek help.
Situation 1: Child came up to me with a tissue on her finger. Told me her finger was bleeding and then moved her fingers towards my face (she didn't "fling" it, but moved it towards my face). Would I have felt it if a drop/small amount of blood got in my eye from her finger? Particularly if I were wearing contacts? I did not feel anything.
Situation 2: I left my car at a service station due to the check engine light coming on. Left it there from Fri - Sun and when I got it back, I realized that every part of the car that I touch, had been touched by someone else. I was careful (and cautious) not to put my fingers in my mouth or eyes and washed them about 3 or 4 times after getting home. Then, I wiped down various parts of the car with Clorox wipes. After inspecting the wipes (allowing me to further realize I have a problem), I noticed a pin-sized red spot on one of wipes. I showed it to a few of my friends, who were convinced it was not blood, but thats hard for me to believe. It had been about 2 hours after I got the call that my car was finished that I picked it up (so probably close to 2 hours since someone else was inside of it). Any risk? As I've written this, I've been convincing myself I am going crazy over nothing, but nothing compares to your reassurance. Another donation is on the way from me, along with my own reassurance that this will be one of the last concerns from me in a long time.
Thank you, so much.
Response from Dr. Frascino
As I mentioned last time while addressing the (non)-exposure risks for your naked-man-touching-your-car experience and the subsequent dreaded "toilet terrors," "I have no doubt that without psychiatric help your HIV fears will continue and probably worsen over time." And here you are back again, this time worried about: (1) a child with tissue on bleeding finger and (2) fears about touching your car after it was serviced.
Once again, your fears are irrational, completely unwarranted and getting more outlandish by the day. Once again, I urge you to seek the help of a psychiatrist and bring copies of your posts and my responses to your visit to show to your psychiatrist. This will help focus your treatment and speed your recovery. I do hope you will follow my advice this time. Otherwise you'll soon be worrying that you might contract HIV from me through your computer.
Recent Exposure? PEP? A Toilet Terror! Aug 12, 2008
Dr. Bob, I know you think I'm nuts, because I just finished worrying about possible exposure from the naked man touching my car. Looking back on it now, I realize that was silly. So silly to worry about.
BUT. Now, I'm going crazy once again. My mom and I stopped at a Burger King to use the bathroom. When I went in the stall, I noticed the toilet was not very...clean. As I usually do, I put toilet paper around the seat and even in the middle of the seat (where it isn't connected anymore - the kind of seat that is shaped like a U). I did my thing and then slid/scooted/jumped of the seat (I am a little person and rather short and this was a handicap toilet so it's a bit high for me).
What worries me is when I was putting all of the toilet paper into the toilet, I noticed a red dot (probably the size of a pin head or freckle) on the part of the toilet where the seat isn't connected anymore (the middle part). I didn't look to see if it had gotten on to the toilet paper or not before throwing the toilet paper into the toilet.
Now, I am freaking out because I am worried that when I scooted off of the toilet, my bottom may have rubbed against the toilet, where this *spot* was. I also could not tell if this spot was dried or not, but there was a lady who went in right before me.
I was telling myself to forget about it as we left Burger King, kept on driving, went to the grocery store and then eventually to my apartment. But then, after we got back, I went to use my bathroom and after using toilet paper, I noticed a little bit of red on it. Of course, I started to panic - what if it had rubbed off from the toilet seat at Burger King and on to my bottom? My mom, who knew about my excessive worrying from before, told me I have nothing to worry about and that it is probably just coincidence, but please give me your input on whether or not you think I am risk. What if it did enter through my bottom side? Do you at all think I need PEP? This happened today so I still do have time.
Please, please, please respond!
Response from Dr. Frascino
First the naked man touching your car (see below) and now a "toilet terror"? I'll be brief. Once again, your HIV risk is nonexistent and your worries, irrational and completely unwarranted. PEP is definitely not indicated. However, psychological or psychiatric counseling is! It's time to get the psychiatric help you need, not more HIV testing or PEP, which you definitely don't need. I have no doubt that without psychiatric help your HIV fears will continue and probably worsen over time.
Can I officially WOO-HOO?! Aug 10, 2008
Hi again, Dr. Bob!
It's me. Crazy girl who's been worrying non-stop because a naked man touched my car. Sorry to ask you yet again another question, but I was just wondering if you thought it was officially time for me to WOO-HOO. (Although, you told me my risk was non-existent to begin with, so this probably seems like a silly question.)
Just heard back from my doctor, who I asked to do an HIV test (a day or two shy of 13 weeks after "exposure") and it was NEGATIVE! :) So, that would be my third test:
Antibody Test 3 Weeks After: Negative
RNA PCR Test 5+ Weeks After: "Not Detected"
Antibody Test 12+ Weeks After: Negative
To "Woo-Hoo" or not to "Woo-Hoo"?
Also, I wanted to tell you that I wish nothing but the best for you and you are truly an inspiration to so, so many people. Thanks again for everything!
Response from Dr. Frascino
Hi Crazy-Gal Non-Stop Worrier,
I can't believe you're still freaking out about the naked-guy touching your car!!?!? Can you officially WOO-HOO??? Unequivocally yes! Absofrickinlutely yes! Indubitably yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! In fact, you should have been WOO-HOOing long ago! So this has to be my last re-re-re-reassurance to you. If you require more, you'll need to see a counselor, OK? And if you see naked guy again, send him to our neighborhood in San Francisco, he'll have lots of company here and folks certainly won't freak out at his touch.
Thank you! A response from you made my day! Jul 26, 2008
Hi again, Dr. Bob! It's me, the girl who's car was touched by a naked man running in the streets. (By the way, this occurred in a small town on the Eastern Shore of MD - hopefully only a one time occurrence!) I wanted to thank you (so much) for your quick response though. It really helped to put my mind at ease; more than any other doctor's reassurance up to this point. To ease my mind completely, I will most likely get another test at the 3 month point. Until then though, I am just going to keep remembering what you wrote - there's no chance.
You are the best and I wish nothing but the best for you! I will also be making a donation to your wonderful cause.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Thanks for your thanks and your kind donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). Helping others in desperate need is also a wonderful way to rack up excellent cosmic karma!
Be well. Stay well. (Yes, indeed, you are undeniably well!)
CRAZY story, leading to a crazy-stressed out me! Help! Jul 25, 2008
Hi Dr. Bob! I think you are great. Your answers have not only helped me relax, but have also made me laugh more than I have for a while!
About 3 months ago, an incident occured that has really scared me. I was driving on a main road when I saw a naked man running around in the street. He ran in front of my car, hit my hood (with his hands), and then approached my door. He fiddled with the door handle, but never made eye contact with me, which made it seem as though his intent wasn't too hurt me - but he was maybe drunk or on drugs or just out of it. I drove away as fast as I could and as I did so, he grabbed my mirror. About 5 - 10 minutes later (no less than 5, no more than 10), I got to where I was going. However, when I got out of my car, I failed to look at my door - I just hurried out of my car since I was already late for where I needed to be. About two hours later, I got back into my car, again, not noticing anything on my door. I continued on with my day as usual. However, the next day, I started to PANIC that I touched a part of the door where he may have touched (and may have possibly had a fluid on his hands or maybe a small cut of some sort) and that I bit my nails (nervous habit that I have) or rubbed my eyes (due to allergies) afterwards. I continued to panic for about the next week or so and then developed many of the "acute symptoms", including a low grade fever (never higher than 99.6-ish), sore throat, and fatigue. About 3 weeks after this occurred, I got an HIV test (antibody) to ease my mind. It was negative, but then I was concerned that I got it done way too soon for it to be accurate. Then, about 5 and a half weeks after possible exposure, I got another HIV test done, but this was a PCR RNA test. It said the virus was "Not Detected" ( < 48 copies/mL). What is your input on my risk of being infected? I still am so worried. If there was fluid on his hands that he touched my door with, I do not feel that it would have been a large amount of fluid - otherwise, I hope I would have noticed this, even after it was dry and even days later. However, part of my door is black, so who knows if I would have noticed that! But, do you think 5 - 10 minutes would have been enough time for a small amount of fluid to dry enough for the virus to die? I really hope to hear from you.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Relax! Your HIV-acquisition risk is completely and absolutely nonexistent. If HIV were contracted that easily, it would have wiped out the entire planet many years ago. HIV testing is not warranted. Your HIV tests to date are not unexpectedly negative.
Now I have a question for you: Exactly where is this neighborhood where naked men run through the streets? I'm sure many of our readers would like to know, as they plan their next Sunday afternoon drive.
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