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dirty needles
Sep 18, 2001

I am scared that during a routine physical I had some blood taken for lab work, I did not pay attention to whether or not the lab tech used a clean needle. I have OCD and I cannot stop obsessing over this issue. I am ultimately convinced that I have contracted HIV. To make the matter worse, this incident happened approximately 1.5 weeks ago & now I have a cold. Is this ARS? I had a very mild sore throat for only about a day. However I have a runny nose & sneezing still, this developed about 2-3 days ago. I don't notice much in the way of body aches & I am not running a fever. Please help me as I am a nervous wreck. I know that lab techs & people who draw blood are supposed to use new needles with each patient, but how do you know that they do. People can be cruel and honestly there is something about this person that is unsettling to me. I know that I sound very paranoid & I plan to seek help, but in the meantime I need someone to help me see things clearly. It makes sense that we cannot worry that every person who cares for us is out to give us a deadly disease but I can't shake this feeling. How many people are HIV positive? I thought I heard 1 in 500 people are but that sounds high. I try to tell myself that the odds of someone that is HIV positive having their blood taken before me is low but the thought still haunts me. I have small children & a husband & the thought of anything happening to me or me giving them something terrifies me. Please help. Thank you so much. You are a wonderful person to give of your knowledge to people who are in need of help.

Response from Ms. Breuer

You have succeeded in truly frightening yourself, and I honestly don't know what I could say that would reduce your anxiety. Yes, the 1 in 500 figure is roughly accurate, as I understand it. A health professional with a box full of fresh needles has no reason to re-use one, especially given the risk of losing one's job over such poor infection control. But all that is logic, and fear is emotion.

You now have a cold. I am so horrified by the terrible events of this past week that I have laryngitis--I'm literally speechless. I think there are complicated reasons why both of us face health problems right now.

Please do get help in dealing with this. No one who simply responds to you from a website can provide the guidance you need in working through this anxiety, and you do not have to live with it. Make the appointment, okay? You're worth it, and so are your husband and small children.

being infected by walking on floors
blood splash to eye

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