Dear Dr. Bob,I have written you before and you have always given me fact based answers which ease my mind and reassure me.A 200. donation for your worthwhile foundation is to follow. All I need is someone with knowledge and a level head to talk me down, so to speak. I recently went to the hospital to visit my aunt we had a very nice visit and as I was about to leave I took her hand in mine and discovered that they had removed the iv line from her hand and had inserted another in a different place. I saw the area where the line in her hand had been had dark blood around it but did not notice if the blood in the center of the area was wet or not. I began to worry if I had had any unnoticed cuts on my hand or if I had a fresh hangnail,which I often do,on one of my fingers and it made contact with the blood in the area where they had pulled the iv that I could have gotten HIV. The reason I would be concerned about my aunt having HIV is because from many years back til now she has had to have transfused blood.I know that they did not check transfused blood way back and even now it is not certain that all of our blood supply is 100% safe although I understand it is pretty close to 100%. What would be my chances of getting HIV if my fresh hangnail or cut had come in contact with wet blood from the center of where my aunt's iv line had been thus putting me at risk for HIV. I don't need to tell you but you can tell I have OCD.I am getting treatment for it but it's not doing too much good.I know I seem ridiculous and like a whining baby but, believe it or not I am a fairly intelligent person.(Ha Ha) to that one .Doc please reassure me so I can move on.Please don"t advise an HIV test.Your reassurance is more than enough for me. In a nutshell could I have gotten HIV from a hangnail or cut coming in contact with possible wet blood on my aunt's hand from where they had pulled the iv and where (worst case sceniaro)there could still have been wet blood. Thank you for your great patience in the face of my stupidity.
Are you back again? And still worried about contracting HIV from Auntie? No, you certainly do not need to convince me you have OCD. I'm glad you realize it and that you are getting treatment for it. I'd suggest you bring a copy of this post and my response to your next session to discuss with your therapist. It may help.
Regarding your concern, it is once again completely irrational and unwarranted. First off, the blood supply is indeed quite safe and the chances Auntie is HIV positive are remote at best. Even with a worst-case scenario, your chances of contracting HIV from her healing I.V. site through a hangnail or cut are nonexistent. HIV testing is definitely not warranted.
I don't believe what you are suffering from is "stupidity." There are a great many extremely smart folks who have irrational fears and phobias. Some may be irrationally afraid of snakes or spiders, or heights or flying, or Dick Cheney . . . oops, skip that last one. Cheney really is scary!
Thanks for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's warmly appreciated and will help many folks in desperate need trying to cope with the challenges of HIV/AIDS. Your gift will help turn hopelessness into hope.
Be well and please give Auntie a hug from me.
blood transfusion and scratch
Jun 25, 2008
Dear Dr. Bob, Please answer, donation to follow. I realize this is a stupid question but there is still that little voice in back of my head that tells me that it's not so stupid.I have a sister who has a doctorate in psychology and that I unfortunately shared this with and she cussed me out telling me what a weak minded fool I am. I asked her if she used this technique on her clients and she hung up on me. You seem to have unlimited patience even when I am sure you'd like to come and personally kick some people in the bum.Please don't tell me to get tested because I really don't feel I need it and because a little reassurance from you is all I need. I went recently to visit my aunt in the hospital following a stroke. She has also been off and on a breathing tube she has also had several blood transfusions from recently to way back. I held her hand as I have done in the past but this time after holding her hand I rubbed my neck which already had a puncture wound and scratch on it from where I had removed a pimple and which I subsequently had scratched causing it to bleed I had done this about 15 minutes before going in to see my relative but had washed my hands before going in.I held her hand and after holding it I touched and rubbed this scratch and puncture under my chin not remembering that it had been bleeding earlier. I began to worry that there could have been blood on my aunt's hand when I held it and that I could have gotten hiv from her due to her long history of blood transfusions. Dr. Bob am I being unrealistic and paranoid about this or do I have any real reason to worry here? Any contamination would have to have gone from her hand to my hand and then to my chin which seems kind of unlikely to me. I hope you agree.Thanks for all the wonderful work you do. This OCD thing does bring me down to looking as though I function about the level of an idiot. Thank you.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Are you being unrealistic and paranoid about this? Yep!
Do you have any real reason to worry? Nope.
I can assure you OCD is a very common disorder and certainly not linked to low I.Q. However, your HIV fears are indeed completely unwarranted. Counseling may well help you confront and cope with these irrational worries.