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HIV from Swab
Mar 14, 2009

Dr Bob,

First a disclaimer - yes this is going to sound crazy and will probably end up in your 'Funny' archives but to me this is extremely anxiety provoking and causing me to panic.

In 2007 I was exposed to blood by a pathologist who took my blood at a local hospital. He was bleeding and touched my open needle wound. After reporting the incident to the doctor he had me cease breastfeeding my baby and test out to 6 months - all negative.

I put in a complaint about this guy to the pathology company and he was counselled and retrained re. infection control but kept his job.

In an unrelated matter, my OB/GYN asked me to get a swab to swab a small sore I have on my genitals and send off. I am in a small country town and my GYN is in the city 8 hrs away and he asked me to do it myself.

My husband went to the lab to collect some swabs for me (as I didnt want to go there due to my previous experience).

I did the swab and sent them back.

I have now had the thought that WHAT IF THE PATHOLOGIST MALICIOUSLY INFECTED THE SWAB WITH HIV? BY that I mean that because he knew it was for me to get me back for making a complaint against me he has somehow injected something into the soft end of the swab so that it would infect me when actually putting the swab on my sore.

1. Is it possible that he could somehow inject the HIV virus (via blood or some other CLEAR medium like a concentrated laboratory sample or control or something like that) into the swab and it live? The swab was done around 24 hours after it was collected but it was sealed in a vacuum seal plastic packet.

2. Being sealed in a plastic packet would mean that it was airtight a the virus wouldnt die right? Or would the needle allegedly used to inject the substance break the air tight seal?

Crazy I know but this guy has caused me so much emotional and psychological pain I just cant shake this fear.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Regarding your disclaimer ". . . this is going to sound crazy and will probably end up in your 'funny archives' . . ." Sweetie, what do you mean "probably?" There is no "probably" about it. Your post goes to the funny archives; it goes directly to the funny archives; it will not pass "GO" and will not collect $200. (Does anyone still play Monopoly?)

Your HIV fears are irrational and completely unwarranted. You state: "Crazy, I know, but this guy has caused so much emotional and psychological pain I just can't shake this fear." You correctly identified your problem: inability to shake the fear! You need a doctor who can help you do just that. A psychiatrist or psychotherapist will be able to help confront and hopefully conquer your irrational fears. Give it a try, OK?

Dr. Bob



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