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Anxiety around HIV
Apr 22, 2010

Dear Doc,

It is always nice to see you helping fellow worried souls with your humorous and calming words. I have always searched this forum to put my anxieties to rest.

I had a very stupid encounter for which I did not need HIV testing in the first place but nonetheless got on at 12 weeks and it was negative. Then 4 months after the 'supposed' exposure I donated blood for relative where HIV and HBsag test are done. result is Negative. After 9 months went in for my insurance cover where HIV testing is mandatory. Result is Negative. After 13 and half a months I did another HIV test along with some other blood tests, done by a lab technician during an office visit. Guess what NEGATIVE ;-). But now an unnecessary feeling has cropped up that the needle used for the blood test by the lab technician could be re-used needle and what if I contracted HIV this way. I spoke to the lab technician he confirmed that it was new. I called up the lab management and they concurred that they use only new needles and after use the needles are cut with needle cutter and washed with sodium hypochlorite solution before disposal with government certified bio medical waste agencies. Further more lab management informed that they are an JCI accredited path lab (whatever that means) and are strictly surveyed for international acceptable standards and ask me to be assured that everything is OK.

In spite of the above why does my mind keep triggering the question of me having HIV. I really want to get rid of this thought and I know I am fine but everyday I get these fleeting thought of HIV acquisition through the above procedure and again start rehearsing the scenes of the blood test and my conversations with the lab technician and management in my mind.

I want to move on with my life. I got involved with work and everything seems fine till again this STUPID HIV thought is triggered. It is become more of a habit I think. I know I am fine but my mind debates this. Am I going crazy thinking about these thoughts?

Please doc please give me your assurance and a thorough explanation or a slap across the screen so that this STUPID thought is put to rest. Do I need another HIV test? Is there any cases of HIV transmission as stated above? Is HIV transmission possible in the above circumstance?

I await you response. please help and advise!

Well wisher from Mumbai, India

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

SLAP!!!

No additional HIV tests are warranted.

No cases of HIV transmission from the scenario you describe have been reported.

No, HIV transmission is not possible from the scenario you describe.

HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. However, you do have a problem: irrational fear of HIV. I strongly recommend you seek psychotherapy/counseling to help you confront and conquer these totally unwarranted worries.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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