Irration fear of HIV transmission. A bandaid covered cut and a door knob at STD clinic.

Question

Dear Dr Frascino, I will begin by stating that I am perfectly aware that I am hypochondriac and that I am already seeking specialist help with regard to that (this condition worsened in the last months to the point that it was damaging my social/working life). Sadly this condition is totally irrational and it is difficult to cure.

My latest and persistent paranoia is about HIV. About three weeks ago I was tested and I also got my girlfriend tested and we are both negative. I decided to do that to try to calm my fears. Unluckily it didn't work that way.

Two days ago before the test I got a small cut on my right index finger (not exactly a straight line, more like a circle). The day of the test I put a small band aid on the finger. I tried to avoid touching anything but when I was leaving I touched the door knob of the ambulatory room. As far as I remember the door was clean. I also immediately checked the hand and there was no trace of anything.

After three hours I got a bit of sour throat but it went away by the evening. After 36 hours I got a bad cold which lasted for three days. I am not sure if any glands were swollen.

When I returned to retrieve the results for my test I asked the doctor and he told me that there was no possibility I was infected (but in the hurry I forgot to tell him about the cold). My therapist said the same. They also told me that it was not necessary to get any more test. For some days I was relieved but today I am scared once more. I passed my morning trying to understand if my glands were swollen.

I know. I have checked several sources which state that there is non-existant probability to be infected that way. It is also about five hours that I am lurking this forum and I have already found your answers to similar questions. However, as I already said, unluckily hypochondria is not rational and I need another confirmation.

Keep up the good work.

Cheers from Italy, E.

Answer

Hello E from Italy,

I agree with the doctor and your therapist: your HIV-acquisition risk is nonexistent and HIV testing is not warranted. I also agree with you: you are indeed a hypochondriac.

Ciao,

Dr. Bob