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Paranoia? (NEEDLE STICK) (URBAN LEGEND, 2009)
Mar 29, 2009

Dear Doctor,

I must admit that recently I have been having thoughts bordering on paranoia.

You see, it started a few months back when I started to develop an irrational fear of contracting HIV. Every scenario seems to be a potential threat.

Yesterday I was at a LAN Gaming Centre playing computer games with my friends. Whilst I was playing, I felt a heavy jerk on my chair. It felt as though someone had placed his arm on my chair [behind my back] and pushed it downwards.

I start to develop ideas about what could have possibly happen. Is it possible that someone might have, whilst I was so heavily engrosed in the game, surreptitiously inject me with a HIV contaminated needle/blood-filled syringe from behind without my knowing? This explains why I felt a jerk on the chair from behind. It might be that he was executing the task hurriedly and hit the chair whilst in the process of carrying out the misdeed [in a hurry to withdraw his hands after injecting me he could have hit the chair].

I dont know, but the condition at that time seem ideal for some vengeful HIV addict to seek his victim. The lighting was dim, I was engrossed etc etc

Can I ask, if my worries are truly paranoid and unfounded, and there is no possibility of such an episode occuring, and that I'm just imagining a little too much? Or is there truly any possibility that this might have taken place?

I was thinking, if he had truly poked a contaminated needlestick into me, I should have felt it since it' going to be quite painful I'm sure and the neck is also quite a sensitive area. But maybe I was too engrossed in the game to feel anything at all.

Are there any documented cases of HIV being transmitted in this manner? Whereby some HIV positive goes around finding victims, take advantage of situations, and secrely infect them with contaminated needlesticks? Is this scenario ever plausible?

Please address my worries and concerns doctor. It's come to a point where I cannot carry out the daily functions of everyday life.

Thank you so so so much.

Cheers Don

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey Don,

"I must admit that recently I have been having thoughts bordering on paranoia." Don, I absolutely agree, except I'd leave off the "bordering on!"

Your anxiety is based on urban legend and irrational fears. However, you certainly are not alone in having these delusional nightmares. (See below.) Documented cases of HIV-positive psychopathic murderers indiscriminately stabbing innocent unsuspecting victims with syringes full of HIV-tainted fresh blood??? Exactly none. That's correct: nada, zip, zero. Got it? Good.

Don, I strongly recommend you seek the assistance of a psychiatrist or psychotherapist to help you confront your totally unwarranted fears. Don't delay. Your psychological state is already affecting your daily life and these toxic thoughts can get worse without appropriate intervention.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

HIV from needlestick? but unsure if there was puncture wound. (NEEDLE STICK) (URBAN LEGENDS, 2009) Jan 13, 2009

Hello Doctor. I live in the UK.I have a question which you may have answered before....but I want to be a bit more specfic. I was out in a really crowded dance club once and while walking through the crowd, felt a sharp prick on my hand. It was dark and so crowded I couldnt seewho did it. I ran to a lighted area immediately, but couldnt seem to find a puncture wound, so I shrugged it off.

A month after this, I developed sore throat, body pain and fever (mid-November) which lasted for a week. That really got me upset and I spoke to my GP.He tells me it is possible for a needle stick injury to close very quickly without leaving a mark. Now i am really worried that I may have been jabbed with a HIV needle. I still have a month to complete the 3 month window period before testing and the tension is making me lose sleep and my peace of mind. How probable is it that I may have contracted HIV?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Here we go again. Urban legend #13: The psychopathic syringe-wielding lunatic randomly stabbing club kids with HIV-tainted needles as they bop to the beat. Your HIV risk is nonexistent. (See below.)

Dr. Bob

is this a sign of HIV? (NEEDLE STICK) (URBAN LEGENDS) Jan 5, 2009

I went to a rave for new years. I was walking around and felt a sharp pinch/pain or whatever on the back of my NECK. I have heard about the "needle pricking" that takes place at these raves. I checked the back of my neck and its a white circle spot, about 1/4 of a penny. If i got pricked would i have a blood spot, bruise, or even a white spot? there is no signs of a puncture wound. Everyone says it probably from someone flicking cigarette ash on my neck. Please help, I have been crying every night since the incident and haven't slept one bit. The 30 day wait for the HIV test seems unbearable for me. PLEASE HELP

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

You are not alone. See below. My opinion on these types of problems hasn't changed.

Dr. Bob

PEOPLE BEING PRICKED WITH HIV AT RAVES Jan 9, 2008

Hi, I recently went to the New Years Rave, Together as One in California. Ive heard that many people got pricked with HIV and a sticker put on them that said "welcome to my world" or "welcome to the aids club." Im really dumbfounded about the whole thing, and Id like to know if you can help me know whats going on at these raves. Id like to go to a rave in June, but theres no way im going if its full of prickers.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You "heard" that many people got pricked with HIV at a rave? Hmm . . . that myth has now become so popular that it's almost reaching urban legend status along with the lady who put her cat in the microwave to dry him off and all the people who woke up in bathtubs full of ice with their kidneys removed. Dude (or Dudette), you've got to differentiate pricks from prickers at raves. If someone is sick enough to think it's amusing to put stickers that read "welcome to the AIDS club" on fellow ravers, the dude is a real adolescent prick. As for HIV-crazed maniac prickers actually infecting ravers, no, that did not happen. So rave on, my dear, always being wary of pricks rather than prickers.

Dr. Bob

Do you get more e-mails than Brad Pitt per day? Aug 26, 2008

Hi Doc,

Sorry for the irrelevant title. Just wanted to get your attention...although I would be curious to hear the answer. haha.

Anyway, I'm the guy (25yrs old male) who wrote you back in May regarding an incident where I had a fear that a homeless guy intentionally infected me with HIV via needle pricking while I was unconscious. (I've pasted the previous post below just in case you forgot my story). I finally got tested for HIV on August 15 Friday, using Rapid Oral test--that's after 109 days since the incident. The result came back negative and then all my worries ebbed away (although I was already pretty emotionally stable at that timealthough HIV crossed my mind, I never had a panic attack), believing now I can get back to my normal life. Wrong. Last Wednesday, all of a sudden I experienced this EXTREME fatigue where I felt so lethargic that I could not stay focused at work, just hoping to go home and lie on my bed. This fatigue was soon accompanied by nausea and a loss of appetite. I'm suffering from all of these symptoms to this day and they have not gotten better at all despite good amount of sleep. I am now super convinced that I caught hepatitis C from the same incident. To make matters worse, I remember about 1 month ago, I experienced a generalized itching for 2-3 weeks where my legs were constantly itchy, on and off hot flashes/mild flu-like feeling, reduced libido for 3 weeks, and finally there were a couple times within the last 3 months when my urine looked dark orange (in the morning), not dark like the color of coca-cola but combination of orange and brown and also once the color of stool looked lighter than usual--all of these symptoms I believe point to hepatitis C. However, no fever or weight lossat least not yet. On a side note, I took a blood test, precisely the comprehensive metabolic panel plus lipid panel, last Tuesday (Aug 19th) and all the results were normal, including my liver function. However, this does not necessarily screen out hepatitis C as it remains dormant for several years. I've had anxiety attacks over STDs in the past (in 2005) but never experienced such unprecedented level of fatigue. These symptoms are unusual, abnormal, and extremeespecially given my low anxiety level before these symptoms kicked in.

I got tested for Hepatitis C today and will be getting the result next week. I am almost certain that it will turn out to be positive. Right now, I just cannot think of anything else besides the possibility that the homeless guy intentionally infected me with HIV and/or Hepatitis C via needle prick, thinking what if the pimple I noticed on my cheek the day after the incident was actually a needle mark? (although based on what I remember there was no blood mark or trace)

Please help me, Doc. You are the only person I can turn to.Your perspective on my concern would be highly appreciated. Do these symptoms convince you that I have hepatitis C?

Thank you in advance for your response.

Regards, Bobarama Fan

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Bobarama Fan,

"I am now super convinced that I caught hepatitis C . . . ." Here we go again!!! Dude, you've had "anxiety attacks over STDs in the past (2005)" and you just recently had another episode of irrational HIV fear, which, not surprisingly, turned out to be completely unwarranted! Don't you think your latest fixation on hepatitis C might just be another 'Fig Newton of your imagination'?!?

My comments about your risk of acquiring anything from an imaginary syringe-wielding psychotic maniac remain unchanged. See below. Your liver function studies are normal. Your hepatitis C test will also be normal. What's not normal is your recurrent irrational fear about STDs. It's time to get some professional help to confront and conquer this recurrent psychological problem. Ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist, OK?

As for who gets more e-mails per day, me or Brad Pitt, well, I don't really know for sure. Could you send Brad over to my house so he and I could discuss this issue in the comfort of my Jacuzzi?

Dr. Bob

Help from Bobarama campaign needed!!! May 13, 2008

Dear Dr. Bob,

First and foremost, I just want to say you are a godsend. I, a heterosexual man, never thought I would say this to a guy but I love you, Doc. I am so touched by everything you do for the world that they bring tears to my eyes. You will always be my hero.

Ive extensively browsed through your archive but I could not find any case similar to mine. My potential exposure to HIV occurred 2 weeks ago when I was at a restaurant with 3 of my buddies. When we finished eating and were just out the restaurant, I fainted (probably due to fatigue as I was devoid of sleep that week). Unfortunately, all of my friends were walking front of me so they did not see me passed out on the ground until about 20-30 seconds later. Based on what they saw, I was being helped by a few homeless guys. My friends quickly came to help and took me away from the homeless people who continued to follow us, begging for money. I became conscious after my friends put me in a cab. I realized I was not robbed. However, what bothered me was the slight possibility that these homeless people could have intentionally tried to infect me with HIV by poking needle into my body during the time I was passed out and before my friends came to help me. You ask, what made me believe that theyve done this to me? No good reasonjust my hunch. I had no proof. But this incident happened in Tenderloin, California, bad neighborhood which further increases the risk. Not to mention, I think there are homeless people who are mentally ill and therefore, may commit such inhumane crime. The only bright side is this happened right front of the restaurant so good number of people were watching (Ive created a commotion right front of the restaurant). As soon as I got home, I checked every spot on both the inside and outside of my shirt, pants, socks to see if there were any blood stainsluckily none. Ive also checked my entire body for a needle mark. None. There was a red spot on my cheek but I think it was a pimple. Also, there was a extremely tiny red mark on my hand but I dont think it was a needle mark (but at the same time, who knows). After my thorough body check, I was pretty convinced that I was okay until after two weeks, I got the following symptoms: cold, sore throat, raised taste buds. I was getting better after a few days but I got really drunk the following day which made my condition worse. I slept for 9-10 hours the next day in order to fight them off but no avail. I became worried that I was HIV pos. On top of these symptoms, I am now suffering from frequent cough, dizziness, hot flashes which make me feel feverish. (no swollen glands as of now). I was given antibiotics by my doctor yesterday for my sore throat. This has been going on for 5-6 days. I think its fair to say these flu-like symptoms are all indication of seroconversion. My illness is on the verge of getting worse as I feel feverish and weak now. All of this is now bringing tears to my eyes.

Doc, I know you are going to tell me that my next step is to wait for 3-6months to get tested. But please give me your perspective on my incident. Dont the timing and the severity of my symptoms convince you that Im pos? Are you going to tell me that this is all due to stress despite the fact that Ive suffered from stress in the past which never triggered these flu-like symptoms? P lease give me your honest assessment and advice (as you always do). Thank you for your time and help.

Sincerely yours,

Bobarama Fan

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Why is it that people are so afraid of homeless people and immediately think they are all psychotic, syringe-wielding maniacs hell-bent on infecting innocent bystanders with HIV-tainted blood???? Don't you think homeless folks may have a few other more pressing problems to occupy their minds and actions, like finding a place to sleep or something to eat??? I've worked with many homeless folks, including those in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, and I have never come across or even heard mention of deranged psychopaths, like the ones you fear. It's all urban legend, like the lady who dried her wet cat by putting it in the microwave or all those folks waking up in bathtubs full of ice with their kidney removed or the Loch Ness Monster or the Easter Bunny or compassionate conservatives. None of it is based in reality.

So to answer your specific questions and comments:

1. My perspective on your incident is that your fears are totally unwarranted and highly irrational.

2. Does the timing and severity of your symptoms convince me that you're positive? No, absolutely not. It convinced me you are suffering from irrational HIV fears and anxiety.

3. Am I going to tell you it's all due to stress? No, not all due to stress. Some of it is due to your unhealthy lifestyle of inadequate sleep and excessive alcohol consumption.

4. Am I going to tell you your next step is a three-month HIV test? No, I don't feel HIV testing is even warranted. However, if you remain worried, despite my reassurances, then a three-month rapid HIV test may be helpful in putting your unwarranted worries permanently to rest.

Finally, as far as being in love with me, well, if you really expect to have a chance, you'll have to clean up your act a bit, get some rest and attend to your irrational fears. After that, well, maybe, just maybe one drink!

Good luck. Stop worrying.

Dr. Bob

syringe with hiv positive blood in payphone slots????? (URBAN LEGENDS) Jul 26, 2007

Dr. iam really concerned as ive heard that there are people who have gotten hiv from payphone slots.is this true or mere legend.Iam homeless and constantly look for loose change in payphone slots.Iam afraid of this and need your comfort and reassurance

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

HIV from payphone slots occurs at the same rate as HIV from needles stuck in movie theater seats, which in turn occurs at exactly the same rate that brilliant, scientifically-sound ideas pop into Dubya's brain. That is to say this never ever happens. It's more urban legend, just like the old lady who tried to dry her wet kitty cat in the microwave oven or the scary kidney theft ring in New Orleans that supposedly stole people's kidneys by drugging them and leaving them in a bathtub full of ice. How do we know these urban legends are hoaxes? Well, the kidney theft ring is perhaps the best known, most feared and most widely spread urban legend recently. The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly asked for actual victims to come forward and tell their stories. So far they have exactly none! That's none as in zero! That's also the same number for people getting HIV infected from needles in payphone slots! ZERO! So stop worrying about HIV-tainted needles in payphone slots. There are much more important things to worry about these days. For instance, what about those alligators that dwell in the New York City sewer system that have grown to enormous size after being flushed down the toilet by dissatisfied pet owners??? And how about all those poor kids who have died when they ingested Pop Rocks candy mixed with soda, causing their stomachs to explode???

Dr. Bob

needlestick in a public restroom? Apr 2, 2006

Dr. Bob-

Thanks for taking my question. On March 6, I was involved in masturbation in a public restroom when the guy in the next stall motioned for me to come near the stall so he could masturbate me. Like an idiot, I did for @ 30 seconds before someone else came into the restroom. Well after I pulled back, I continoued to masturbate myself but then noticed blood coming from my urethra. Needless to say, this scared the hell out of me and I zipped up to go meet this guy at the sink area. We exchanged names but agreed that what we were doing was "risky" and both left. I couldn't bring myself to ask if he did something to my penis. I really wished I had. My only thought (crazy as it may sound) is that he somehow had a syringe w/ needle and stuck the inside of my urethra. Now, I'm so paranoid that I can't even decide if this is a rational possibilty or not. Have you ever heard of something like this happening?? I probably would have felt a needle enter my urethra, right? Oh man, I guess this is what I get for doing what I did. I did go to the doctor's the very next day (the wound had mostly healed)and he examined me and said it was probably caused by vigorous maturbation, which I had a hard time buying but he's the doctor. It's just that the wound looked like it had been made from a small needle or something about a 1/2 of an inch down into my urethra. I've never had bleeding from there before. I do have a history of kidney stones but probably would have felt one pass. Am I crazy for even thinking that this guy had some sort of HIV infected object and cut me with it and then stuck around to say hi and all!?? Thanks for your take on this picture Dr. Bob.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Dude,

Are you really asking me if you would have noticed or even felt someone sticking a "syringe w/ needle" into your urethra??? OUCHAMAGOUCHA!!!!!!

Whackos with HIV-loaded syringes injecting horned-up hotties in powder rooms is too far fetched to even qualify as one of those loony urban legends that circulate on the Internet (and in religious vocational schools). You know, the ones like the wet cat that was put in the microwave to dry off or the dude waking up in a bathtub full of ice with his kidney missing after a hook-up with a hottie or Cheney shooting an old man in the face with a shotgun? Oops, OK, maybe some "stranger than fiction" urban legends are true, but needling your one-eyed monster? No, Dude, that did not happen. I'm almost tempted to tell you to try it and see if you notice even the slightest twinge of discomfort, but I'm a bit worried you might actually do it. So don't! You'll have to trust me on this one, OK?

As for the blood from Mr. Happy, I agree with your doctor. The most likely cause is being overly aggressive with your weenie wank. But if the bleeding recurs, your doctor may want to run a few tests to check things out.

As for kidney stones, I've had those as well (thank you Crixivan!) and from personal experience, yes, you would have felt one pass.

So, Dude, my advice is to relax. I see no cause for concern.

Dr. Bob

needlestick in a public restroom? Apr 2, 2006

Dr. Bob-

Thanks for taking my question. On March 6, I was involved in masturbation in a public restroom when the guy in the next stall motioned for me to come near the stall so he could masturbate me. Like an idiot, I did for @ 30 seconds before someone else came into the restroom. Well after I pulled back, I continoued to masturbate myself but then noticed blood coming from my urethra. Needless to say, this scared the hell out of me and I zipped up to go meet this guy at the sink area. We exchanged names but agreed that what we were doing was "risky" and both left. I couldn't bring myself to ask if he did something to my penis. I really wished I had. My only thought (crazy as it may sound) is that he somehow had a syringe w/ needle and stuck the inside of my urethra. Now, I'm so paranoid that I can't even decide if this is a rational possibilty or not. Have you ever heard of something like this happening?? I probably would have felt a needle enter my urethra, right? Oh man, I guess this is what I get for doing what I did. I did go to the doctor's the very next day (the wound had mostly healed)and he examined me and said it was probably caused by vigorous maturbation, which I had a hard time buying but he's the doctor. It's just that the wound looked like it had been made from a small needle or something about a 1/2 of an inch down into my urethra. I've never had bleeding from there before. I do have a history of kidney stones but probably would have felt one pass. Am I crazy for even thinking that this guy had some sort of HIV infected object and cut me with it and then stuck around to say hi and all!?? Thanks for your take on this picture Dr. Bob.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Dude,

Are you really asking me if you would have noticed or even felt someone sticking a "syringe w/ needle" into your urethra??? OUCHAMAGOUCHA!!!!!!

Whackos with HIV-loaded syringes injecting horned-up hotties in powder rooms is too far fetched to even qualify as one of those loony urban legends that circulate on the Internet (and in religious vocational schools). You know, the ones like the wet cat that was put in the microwave to dry off or the dude waking up in a bathtub full of ice with his kidney missing after a hook-up with a hottie or Cheney shooting an old man in the face with a shotgun? Oops, OK, maybe some "stranger than fiction" urban legends are true, but needling your one-eyed monster? No, Dude, that did not happen. I'm almost tempted to tell you to try it and see if you notice even the slightest twinge of discomfort, but I'm a bit worried you might actually do it. So don't! You'll have to trust me on this one, OK?

As for the blood from Mr. Happy, I agree with your doctor. The most likely cause is being overly aggressive with your weenie wank. But if the bleeding recurs, your doctor may want to run a few tests to check things out.

As for kidney stones, I've had those as well (thank you Crixivan!) and from personal experience, yes, you would have felt one pass.

So, Dude, my advice is to relax. I see no cause for concern.

Dr. Bob

NEEDLE STICK TO BUTT INJURY Mar 4, 2008

Doctor first of all i want to deeply thank you for your response to my question, but my other question is do you think its neccesary for me to start on pep?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Dude! No, absolutely not! Why would anyone consider PEP for a bite on the ass from a presumably gay stinging insect or spider? Unless you're assuming PEP stands for Psychological Evaluation of a Paranoiac, because if that is indeed the case, then yes, by all means proceed with my blessings.

Dr. Bob

needlestick injury to butt Mar 3, 2008

Please doctor, i know youve been anwsered this same questions millions of times but please help me i going crazy at this moment, just 4 hours ago i was at coffee shop when i felt a sting in my right buttcheeck, and im almost freaking sure it was someone who stung me with a needle, after this incident there is a red dot on my right but check and its mildly stinging, now 4 hours later its still stinging and hurts and im going crazy, could i have been exposed in any way? im ready to make a donation right away doc, thank you so much for your time

-tom

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Tom,

You are "almost freaking sure someone stung (you) with a needle"????? Hmm . . . so let me get this straight. You were having a nice cappuccino at Starbucks and you think a crazed HIV-positive lunatic came up to you and injected your butt with HIV-tainted blood? Hmm . . . don't you think you would have seen the deranged maniac wielding a blood filled syringe if this really occurred? And why would said deranged syringe-wielding HIV-positive maniac be hanging around the coffee shop anyway? Your fears are completely unwarranted and borderline paranoid. Most likely your little owie was due to a stinging insect (possibly gay considering his "rear" attack). I see absolutely no cause for alarm or worry.

Thanks for your kind donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org).

Be well.

Dr. Bob

Hot Cross Buns Mar 25, 2009

Dr Bob, I bought a packet of hot cross buns sealed in plastic wrapping yesterday morning. Today after lunch I opened them and ate them and gave them to my kids.

As I was packing up the rest I noticed that there was a small hole pierced in the bag that I definately didnt do.

If someone injected them with HIV or blood would the virus survive inside the bun/bag and be able to infect us via handling the buns (the kids pulled them apart) or eating them? It was around 29 hrs since they were bought from the shop.

Mom of 3

Re: Hot Cross Buns (Submitted Mar 25, 2009)

PS

I have been searching the internet looking for an answer to my question.

I have read some reports that sugar actually enhances the HIV virus - this would mean that the sugar in the buns would help keep the virus alive or replicate?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Mom of Three,

My response to your concerns about the small hole in your packet of hot-cross buns is the same as I gave to the guy who worried that someone was injecting HIV into his condoms. (See below.)

By the way, hot cross bun frosting does not keep HIV alive or increase viral replication.

Dr. Bob

Suspect that condoms were tampered with Mar 25, 2009

Recently i bought a 12 pack of Durex condoms from wal-mart. I used one the night i bought them, and when i got home i noticed the box had a slash on it. It was like a scratch all the way down the box. Most of the scratch did not penetrated completely through the cardboard, however there was about 1 inch of the scratch that did penetrate all the way through the cardboard. I am worried that someone might have deliberately cut the box and injected an STD into the condoms. Could it be possible to contract an STD (such as AIDS) in this way. I am pretty sure that the box was cut when i bought it because i did nothing to it except lay it in the seat of my car.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You are actually worried someone at your local Piggly Wiggly pharmacy deliberately cut the box of condoms you bought and injected an STD into the condoms???? Whoa dude! Just how much crazy powder did you put in your protein shake today? Did you ever consider it might just be the result of an overly aggressive stock boy with a box cutter opening a carton of Durex boxes prior to restocking the shelves? Do you really think homicidal psychotic HIV-infected whack-jobs are going to spend time trying to inject HIV into condoms? No, of course not. They are much too busy carefully arranging for concealed HIV-infected needles to stick people in the butt when they sit down in movie theaters and convincing little old ladies to dry their wet kitty cats in the microwave oven. Dude, your fears are unwarranted. Psychopaths are not interested in your condoms and Felix the Cat never exploded in a microwave, OK?

Dr. Bob



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