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Terrifying Fear of Getting HIV from HIV Test (resubmitted form the Fatigue and Anemia Forum) from
Apr 29, 2011

Dr. Frascino this is a very serious question and I have become terrified and I need your expert advice. It all started a week ago when I went to an STD clinic and got a Oral Rapid HIV test. I decided to get an HIV test done since it has been recommended all sexual active people get the test. The lady that administered it to me did not wear any gloves when she took it out of the package. She then handed me the device and I swapped my mouth with it. At no point did she wear any gloves, even when she took the device back from me to have it tested. The results came back negative and I was quite happy. The lady then told me they had only one positive test result not too long ago. I then noticed later that evening that my gums were sore and I had small cuts on them, which I believe was from using the device too hard against my gums. This is where my anxiety stepped in and where I need your expertise. I apologize about all the questions but I can't seem to find the answers.

1. Why aren't healthcare workers required to wear gloves when dealing with the Oral Rapid Test?

2. If somehow she had gotten her blood on the collection pad and I swabbed my mouth with it, would the test have been able to detect the HIV in the theoretically placed blood on the collection device or would the test not have been able to detect it because it only tests oral fluid?

3. I am assuming she did not wear gloves when she tested the previous man that was HIV +. Could she have contracted it through him by his oral fluid or possible bleeding gums?

4. I became so paranoid that I called back the clinic and I asked the lady if she was HIV +. She paused for a few seconds and then said no. Are healthcare workers required to inform you if they are HIV + if you ask them?

5. Was I at any risk from contracting HIV through this test?I did have cuts on my gums that I saw later and I am afraid somehow blood got in them.

6. Have there ever been any documented cases where someone contracted HIV through the Oral Rapid Test?

7. Would you recommend that I get another test done in 3-6 months just to be sure?

Dr. Frascino I apologize about all the questions but somehow my mind took something good like a negative HIV result and turned it into the worst case scenario. I am seeing a therapist this week because I know it is OCD and I am afraid that if I go get another test then I won't stop.

Thank you for your time and for this wonderful resource site.

Fear of Getting HIV from HIV Test (addendum) (Submitted Apr 28, 2011)

Dr. Bob I forgot to mention that I am making a donation to your wonderful organization. I truly hope one day a cure will be found and for the time being that anyone living with the disease is able to live a full and prosperous life. If you have any suggestion on how I can make a difference please let me know. Thank you Dr. Bob.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

1. Latex gloves are recommended as a universal precaution where there is a potential risk for transmission of blood-borne pathogens, such as HIV or hepatitis. Performing oral rapid HIV tests in the method you describe is not considered a risk for transmission and therefore gloves are not necessary.

2. I'm not exactly sure what you're asking here. If the technician who administered the test was actively bleeding and the collection swab was soaked in her blood, I doubt she would have given it to you or that you would have taken it and used it. So this is a rather silly question. Regarding the test kit itself, I don't know exactly which one was being used. Some can be used an oral fluid or blood (if that's what you're asking).

3. No.

4. No, everyone has a right to their privacy. Even if she were positively charged and did not wear gloves, there would be absolutely no risk to you during an oral rapid HIV test.

5. Nope.

6. Nope.

7. Nope.

I'm glad you are seeing a therapist for OCD. Currently your OCD is OOC (out of control). Your fears of becoming HIV infected from having an oral rapid HIV test are completely unwarranted and totally irrational. Be sure to discuss this latest concern with your therapist. Show her this post and discuss it with her.

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck/good-health karma that you will forever be HIV free.

Be well.

Dr. Bob



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