Paranoia

Question

Okay, so I am currently a medical student, and I have no idea what is possessing me to act this way, but here goes. We have been learning a lot about HIV and possible ways of transmission. Well, I have never had sex before, but have kissed a few guys, and got freaked out. Also, from working in the hospital, I got freaked out too. So I went to an HIV testing clinic, that was in a super, super shady part of time, and the clinic did not look too great either. They had to lock the door during office hours, and let you in, when they saw you at the door. Anyway, I went in, told them my ridiculous fears, and the did the quick rapid test via finger prick...of course it was negative. But now, 2 days later, I am having flu like symptoms, and I am sure it is because I have been tired, it's winter, no flu shot, etc., etc., but I am freaking out because some silly voice in me is shouting some sort of HIV inoculation into innocent folks conspiracy theory. So can you tell me that I am being stupid, and that you cannot get HIV from a finger prick needle in an HIV testing clinic?

Answer

Hello Medical Student,

You may be "studying" modes of HIV transmission in school, but apparently you aren't "learning" very much or you would be able to answer your own question.

You want me to tell you that you're "being stupid and that you cannot get HIV from a finger prick needle in an HIV testing clinic." OK, here you go: "You are being irrational (better word than stupid) and you cannot get HIV from a finger prick needle in an HIV testing clinic." But you already knew that, didn't you? Of course you did.

Your problem -- and it really is a problem -- is that you have irrational fear of HIV. This could significantly impact your future career in medicine. I would strongly suggest you seek counseling (psychotherapy) now to confront and conquer these totally unwarranted and absolutely irrational fears. This type of HIV paranoia often worsens over time. Check out the chapter in the archives entitled "I'm Positive I'm Positive" for many examples.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob