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Please Help! I am afraid I caught HIV infection
      #26756 - 01/09/02 08:49 PM

I am only 19 and I don't quite understand why I have to deal with this.
Perhaps some will laugh at me for my ignorance and deem this post as a hoax, but I really am frightened over this issue and am losing sleep over this. Please, someone try to help me please, please don't think of thsi as a hoax, it is a truly genuin fear of mine. Anyone, please give me some advise!
What happened was this. It happened over 10 months ago in a public restroom.
It was pretty crowded in there and I had to wait my turn to use a stall. So there was definitely someone before me using the stall. It finally came to my turn to use the stall. I had just finished my business and was about to use the toilet paper to clean up. For some reason, and I'm really regretting it now, I accidently swiped the toilet paper against the toilet seat before I absent-mindedly continued to use the toilet paper. Oh why didn't I had the presence of mind to discard it? I can't understand.
Now I have to live with the thought that I may have exposed myself to HIV infection. I mean, the toilet paper which came into contact with the seat actually also came into contact with my genitalia!
Upon realising what I did, I immediately stood up from the seat and started to inspect the seat. To my horror, I saw some stains on the seat! It was not imaginary, there was indeed something on the seat. The lighting was not good so I can't be sure what it was. Now under normal circumstances I probably would not worry, but I keep thinking about how there was an occupant just before me in that stall, what if she had left some infected fluid on the seat? Wouldn't I have come into contact with those fluid then, if they had been there. I don't recall seeing blood, so that may be a source of comfort. But what if she had dripped some blood accidently( sometime this happens to me too, when I am having my period) onto the seat but wiped it away with tissue paper, leaving residue of HIV behind. Can i still get infected this way.
I know I have no reason to imply that the previous occupant is HIV positive, but one can never be too sure. Furthermore, the time lap between her exit and my entrance of thes tall was barley seconds long, the virus if it was present would not have enough time to die and not pose a risk.
I have been living with all sorts of fear and doubts for the past ten months. I am afraid to test in case I am really positive because of this incident. I am quite certain that before this incident I am negative as I never had practiced any activity that would put me at risk. I am so worried and obsessed by this one incident that sometimes I even treat myself as infected already. I am always so worried all the time for fear that I may put my dear ones at risk as I am sometimes rather careless about hygiene. I fear that my body fluids can put my family risk if they accidently came into contact with them, especially blood. I wash the toilet like crazy and do all sorts of things in hope that I will minimise the chances of them catching anything from me, buy sometimes accidents just occur and I will suffer sleepless nights. What shall I do?

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Re: Please Help! I am afraid I caught HIV infectio new
      #26760 - 01/09/02 09:19 PM

No exposure took place. No need to test unless for peace of mind you silly worry wort.

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stressed out

Re: Please Help! I am afraid I caught HIV infection new
      #26769 - 01/09/02 10:14 PM

You would have more chance of winning the lottery 3 times in a row, FORGET ABOUT IT!

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Reged: 01/29/01
Posts: 32
Re: Please Help! I am afraid I caught HIV infection new
      #26784 - 01/10/02 01:20 AM

You are worrying over NOTHING!!! HIV infection does not occur in the fashion you describe.

YOU DO NOT HAVE HIV!!! Do us all a favor and become more educated about HIV and its modes of transmission.

Take care and God Bless.


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How can I not be worried? new
      #26800 - 01/10/02 03:00 PM

Thanks to all who bothered to help mw. I am happy to tell that all your comforting commnets ( as well as al those whom I had consulted before-all told me the same thing, that I am worrying for nothing ) do make me feel better but momentarily only. I would try to think more positively but every time I find myself in a situation where my body fluids have a chance to come into contact with anybody, I start to think about it all over again. i guess that is why I allowed myself to hang on to this bothersome thought for so long.
I myself would like to think that I am worrying for nothing and I can just get on with my life. But I just cannot do so. While I am confident that there wasn't a real risk, I can't help but think that I will be that unfortunate to become nfected with a deadly disease in a way that seemed practically impossible. But lots of strange and totally unexpecterd things have always happened to me in the short 19 years of my life. I think I am just plain unlucky that everthing that shouldn't happen will happen to me. I now have reason to think that it is possible for me to be infected that way, even if everyone knows that that is not a normal route of tranmission. Just think, if all I thought that could have happened did really happen, would I not get infected? If blood was just there seconds ago, and since blood has a very high concentration of the virus, a tiny, tiny amount would be enough to cause infection in me, since it would come into contact with my mucous membranes.

Now I worry that I am HIV positive. If I did not experienced any thing after the incident, I probably would not worry as much now. At a 3 weeks after the incident I had mouth ulcers and abnormal bleeding. Can this be ARS? I also experienced at 6 months past the incident loose stools evey morning for several days, sharp headaches which I never had before in my life(I don't get headaches often), neck pain at the nape, I don't know if this is a swollen node or not as I never had swollen lypmh nodes before, and then this worrisome red patch on my left and right upper thighs. I fear this is the so called 'ars rash'. I have read that the rash resembles a sunburn and so I fear that the red patches on my legs are indeed the dreaded rash. I really fear that I was experincing seroconversion at 6 months. While the headaches and the loose stools resolve soon, the red patches which I take as a rash remained for a very long time, like about 3 months. I cringed every time I saw those red patches on my legs. Can these symptoms be caused by stress itself?

I am so scared that I am one of those who will not turn up positive on a test at 6 months, since if I had seroconverted late, then I am worried that I may just be one of those rare exceptions that will not show up positve on a test long after the window period is over. Or that I may have a rare strain that wuld also not be detected by conventional tests.
I know that I can get a viral load test or PCR to ease my fears, but unfortunantely I am not living in the U.S. and excess to these tests are just not very possible nor will they be afordable for me.
Right now, I behave as if I don't really care about whether I will die anymore, I am just concerned about getting my true serostatus revealed as the last thing I want to do is to pass the infection to anybody especially my loved ones accidently without me knowing too. There were several occasions that I have accidently bled and left may have left blood on something that my family could have come into contact and got themselves infected somehow. Whenever they fall sick, be it a cough or some other discomfort I get jittery and I cannot sleep, and get sick with worry. What shall I do?

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Re: How can I not be worried? new
      #26813 - 01/10/02 04:27 PM

Look, your chances of becoming infected are nil.. There has not been one case reported of someone being infected in the situation you describe. Take an hiv test only to rid these fears you have If you still worry after this, you might want to consult a mental health doctor.

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