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Very scared, bloody tissue
Oct 12, 2001

I want to be upfront here. I have OCD, mainly focused on the fear of getting AIDS. I am getting treatment for this, but certain "normal" activities pose difficulty for me. As I was just walking back to work from lunch I noticed a tissue lying on the ground that had red spots (looked like blood) on it. I'm 95 percent sure I didn't step on it, but not positive. If I did, could the virus be harbored on the bottom of my shoe and later be transmitted if I touched the bottom of my shoe or something the botttom of my shoe touched and then touched a mucous membrane or small cut on my hands? I know this may sound like a ridiculous question, but it is worrying me and I would really really appreciate a response. Thank you for your compassion and understanding.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Perhaps this will help. Please think about how HIV is and is not transmitted, and what oxygen does to it. Dried blood on a tissue that might have been used by an HIV-positive person is not a potential source of HIV infection. HIV cannot survive exposure to oxygen, and HIV infection relies on immediate, intimate contact: having sex, sharing needles. Since OCD involves repeating behaviors that may help you to feel safer, I strongly encourage you to memorize the short list of ways that HIV is transmitted and repeat them to yourself when you are frightened.

Please let me know if I'm way off base here, but I hate to see you suffer with this.


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