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Dr. Frascino, Can't Stop Worrying- Please help a Newlywed Out!
Aug 4, 2009

Hello Robert! I love you and everything that you do. Can I please ask you a question? (it is quite lengthy, I am sorry about that). I have OCD, went well for years on meds. Stopped the meds around my wedding a little over 2 months ago, due to stress and feeling I could live without them. Well, I was sure wrong. Abt a month after I stopped taking them I had a breakdown.So here it is: My husband and I had decided to try for a baby soon. I surfed the web on baby stuff and came across HIV TEST. My intense phobia started here. I worried for weeks, 'could I possibly have it?' when there was barely any risk whatsoever (gave unprotected oral 5 years ago to a claimed virgin and 'young we were 17', and received it 4 years ago, everything else protected). Also, my husband had tested negative after we were together.

So, I freaked out one day and went to a clinic, where I was Negative (was the quick 20 min test). So I walked to my car and felt something on my toe (long story short, thought it was needle, saw no needle, proceeded to go to ER and other doctors over nxt few days to see if a hole was present). Drove back to place (20 mins away), to recheck the grassy spot. Nothing there but prickly grass.

Few weeks after felt I needed to get out and live! So I went to a bar with girlfriends(think it is a higher end bar, in Folsom,Ca, with a $10 cover charge, it is half indoors, half out). Came back that night with itchy spot on arm, itched something, till the skin came off (thought it was a needle poke from maybe a person brushing against me, because it was crowded). Again, I went to see a doctor who said it was probably a mosquito bite as I was outside and it was a hot evening, didn't look like a puncture wound, never bled at all. Didnt feel anything ever, until itchiness came.

All this time, thinking I contracted HIV.

Then, 2 weeks ago I went out with a friend to again try to get over it (my own exposure-therapy). We went to the same bar place to get a few drinks in Old Folsom. Turns out some guys put their hand out for me to shake (think I shook 4-5 people's hands that night). I'm sorry to ask this as I know it is one of the QTND!

But now I am obssessed about this! I did notice a few hrs before going out that I had a small, papercut on my right index finger (upper part, like on other side of fingernail), dont know when I got it. It was extremely minor. Not even enough for me to feel the need for a bandaid, barely visible, Im pretty sure it never even bled. Not red at all.

So, since that night I had showed everyone my finger asking "Is this a route to the bloodstream?" Everyone answering that it is barely even a papercut. I dont think I would have ever known it was there unless I looked closely. I've also been asking "what if someone had bloody hands?" "What if I didn't notice blood?" I never looked at my hands after shaking. "It was pretty dark, what if I didn't notice?" "What if my 1 1/2 drinks made me not know?" I've been having a meltdown ever since and my husband isn't getting any love as all I do is research in the internet. Been reading your stuff the past week straight! What do you think about this? I am currently on different meds for the OCD and saw a therapist. But, I am afraid that this is spinning out of control. I've spent so much money on the ER, dr visits, and therapy sessions it is almost unaffordable! I'm sorry to ask this question, as there are lots of handshake questions, but I just would feel so much better to hear from you. I will make a donation for an answer please.

My friend who I went out with had shaked the same people's hands and said she didn't see any blood. She would have had blood too and guys dont go out w bloody hands to shake with young ladies!

Aaaah please help me as I am depressed and miserable over this. Whenever I see kids I think 'O gosh I couldve had them before all of this, but what if the handshake did it!' I know it sounds irrational and very odd, but please let me know what you think.

I wasn't thinking about the handshakes as I shaked hands, but later that night I remembered the little paper cut (if even), and started ruminating the what ifs. Even beside from the OCD, what do you think about this situation? Please help, as I will donate to the foundation for a answer from you!!! I love you Dr.!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your problem is OCD, not HIV. Your HIV-acquisition risk is nonexistent. Your OCD is OOC (out of control). I would recommend you see a psychiatrist. Living with these irrational fears must be truly terrifying.

Dr. Bob



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