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Author Topic: Should I really be worried? Please help  (Read 7869 times)

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Offline katy

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Should I really be worried? Please help
« on: April 03, 2008, 06:45:12 PM »
I just need a little insight about my recent situation to ease my fears. Okay here it goes!

1. I live in Houston, Texas and I recently took a rapid HIV test from an unprotected sex encounter with an ex-boyfriend that happen 2 years ago(which was negative thank GOD) at a Community Based Organization, by using a blood sample. A counselor pricked my finger with a lancet (like the ones diabetics use to check their blood sugar) and used a white, long object that had a loop at the end to collect the blood from my finger. I believe that the counselor could have reused the lancet and collection loop since she was in a rush and I called the place back 5 weeks later and now they are saying that they don't use blood samples anyone (they only use oral swabs)! This have really scared me, because I don't think that they counselor was suppose to use a blood sample. So, if in fact she did and the lancet and collection loop had tiny amounts of infected blood on how much of a risk is this for me to become infected! After all, this is a place where HIV positive people get tested and the fear of contracting HIV from testing is freaking me out.

2. I know that you can not diagnose HIV by symptoms but about 2 weeks after my HIV testing encounter at this organization, I have aches, pains and soreness all over my body especially in my arms and armpits, legs, neck, shoulders, back, feet and ears, I have burning and cramping muscles, chest pain, and tingling and numbness in my hands and feet, and little fever. Is this common with ARS symptoms?  Should I be retested at my actual doctor’s office instead of a community organization?

3. Another question, I recently had really bad dry skin on my hands and wrist from washing my hands so much! This caused my skin to peel, crack, and become red and sore. My skin would burn when I put lotion on it or wash it. Now, I know that Hiv can enter through open sores, cut and broken skin, so my question is do you consider dry, cracked, red skin to be open or broken skin. If someone was infected and bleeding and touched my dry, crack, red skin is there a possible risk of HIV transmission.


Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2008, 06:53:31 PM »
Nothing you are reporting in the way of symptoms is in any way HIV specific. But then I don't think you have had a risk. You are guessing that an infected device was used, a few people often have but which always turns out to be more about fears and anxieties than anything which has a basis in reality.

I suggest you call the organization where you were tested and ask to speak to someone in authority to discuss your concern. Simply because they may have since changed their method of testing does not mean anything inappropriate was done when your blood sample was taken. You may just have caught them when they were transitioning to using the swab method.

No, your cracked skin is not a risk for HIV transmission. Even though your skin may look open and vulnerable to you, breaks in skin very quickly form a not visible to the eye protective covering as a part of the way the body heals itself.
And I have never known of anyone to be infected in that manner. HIV is a fragile virus and not easily transmitted. That kind of setting with the skin would not afford the setting needed for transmission.

I think you're worrying needlessly but for your peace of mind call the CBO and discuss it with them.


Andy Velez

Offline katy

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2008, 09:08:25 PM »
Thanks for your reply! I know this sounds a little crazy, but I really became worried when I started experiencing the symptoms that I described below two weeks after testing. I have not be sexually active since the last encounter with my ex-boyfriend which was two years go and I am not a drug user (so I know that my recent negative hiv test is accurate, as I have had no other risk of infection).  Although, I know that you cannot in anyway diagnose Hiv by symptoms alone, I really don't understand why I am experiencing these symptoms. Could stress and anxiety cause my symptoms?

Also, I did call the CBO and spoke with a lead counselor, who told me that they never re-used lancets because the kind of lancet that they used was a BD Genie Lancet (which I know nothing about) cannot be re-used because once used it retracts and won't come back out so this eased my mind. I am so sorry, but I am still wondering if they re-used the collection loop to get the blood off of my finger and into the testing solution, because they just had a few of the objects laying around! I asked if it was clean and they counselor said yes, but I don't know if you could tell me this. But, it the collection loop was re-used how much risk do you suppose this would be?

Thanks again!   

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2008, 09:39:07 PM »
Zero risk. You never got exposed to HIV by the testing center.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2008, 10:11:47 PM »
You are feeding your fears with what ifs and nothing based in facts. From what you have described it sounds like a situation in which the normal universal precautions are being taken. You're right. We can't tell you if something was "clean." But then I have no reason to believe this CBO is operating in any inappropriate way. 

If you are having troublesome symptoms that's something to discuss with your doctor.

I see no basis in HIV science to be concerned about HIV.
Andy Velez

Offline katy

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2008, 02:22:07 AM »
Thanks again for your time, I truly appreciate it! I did go to the doctor when my symptoms first started and she told me that it just seemed like stress and anxiety, but I'm not fully convinced that stress and anxiety could cause this many symptoms!

And, thanks for clearing that up about my dry, cracked skin because I knew that hiv could be transmitted through open cuts or breaks in the skin, but I did not know what constituted as broken or open skin! Just to make sure that I am clear, there is no way that hiv (someone bleeding and then touched me) could enter through my dry, cracked skin on my hands and wrists.

Offline anniebc

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2008, 03:28:44 AM »
No..HIV does not penetrate through cracks of the skin.

The skin is made up of two thick layers, the top layer is called the epidermis and the botton layer is called the dermis..the blood vessels are located in the dermis, so you would need a very large cut in order for HIV to enter into the blood stream.

Jan
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Offline katy

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2008, 05:16:17 PM »
One of my best friend is also going through aniexty related to hiv fears, because she did something a little stupid! She is afraid to talk to anyone else and to get online to get advice, so could you please help me so that I can help ease her fears alittle.

One of our male friends is a diabetic and checked his blood sugar with his machine (pricking his finger with a lancet). I was not around at this time but he asked her if she wanted to check her sugar, and she yes without making sure he changed the lancet. She said that after she pricked her finger with the lancet, she asked if it was clean and he said that he was the only one that had used it!

Therefore she re-used the lancet right after him to prick her finger (I know this was stupid). She and I are now scared because our male friend engages in high risk behaviors and does not know his hiv status, and when we asked him if he have ever been tested for hiv to help ease her fears, he said no that if he was infected he did not want to know.

My question is, if he is in fact infected is my female friend at a high risk for becoming infected from using the same lancet about 3 mins. after him to prick her finger? Did she pretty much just share a needle?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2008, 05:40:57 PM »
NO risk, even if it wasn't a new lancet. Most are auto lancets, that once it's used the another new one is set for the next test.

Offline katy

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2008, 02:06:59 AM »
We know for sure that the type of device that he uses to prick his finger requires him to open it and insert a new lancet into it! So, since he told her that he was the only one that used it and he did not change the lancet, she did in fact re-use the lancet after him!

So, to make sure that I am clear even if he is infected and she re-used the lancet right after him, she is at no risk for becoming infect? How so, isn't this just like reusing a needle or being pricked by a needle as some healthcare workers do?   

Offline Ann

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2008, 06:08:15 AM »
katy,

Lancets do not transmit hiv. Your friend didn't have a risk.

When people use needles to inject drugs, they will insert the needle and draw back on the plunger until they see blood in the barrel - this is to ensure they've got a vein. Some of this blood will remain behind in the needle. If this needle is then IMMEDIATELY used by another person, some of the remaining blood will be injected DIRECTLY into a vein.

Hiv transmission via needles in a medical setting is actually pretty rare and has never, ever involved a lancet.

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline katy

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2008, 02:19:14 AM »
Thanks a lot you guys, I really appreciate you all time and knowledge! I have relayed all of this valuable information to my friend and she is feeling a little better! Can I just say one more thing and I will leave it alone! So, since you all believe that she was a zero risk for hiv, if our male friend is infected, should she get tested? Its been almost 7 weeks since the incident! Also, so this is not considered blood to blood contact? And, why do people say not to re-use lancets if there is no risk for spreading hiv! 

Offline Ann

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2008, 05:09:47 AM »
Katy,

There are other blood-borne pathogens out there which are much more infectious than hiv. If your friend is that worried, she needs to talk to her doctor. This is an hiv website and we only address hiv concerns. Your friend didn't have an hiv risk.

She only needs to test for hiv if she's been having unprotected anal or vaginal iintercourse with ANYONE.

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline katy

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2008, 08:52:37 PM »
Ann thanks a lot for you reply, I was jus wondering! Also I have a few more questions to become more knowledgeable and ease fears!

1.  Is it possible for someone to develop ARS symptoms, about five to six weeks after a possible infection or does this seems too late?

2.  If someone took an hiv test at 40 days (tested negative) after a possible infection, how valid or realistic is this? Is it possible for the test to be   
     negative at 40 days and then turn positive by 90 days (which I know is the recommended time frame)?

3.  If someone is taking antibiotics will this make them seroconvert later than the recommended time? And, will the antibiotics affect an hiv test to
     test for hiv antibodies?

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2008, 09:52:42 PM »
Katy, the average time to seroconversion is 22 days. All but the smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within 4- 6 weeks after an exposure to the virus.

A negative at 40 days or nearly 6 weeks would be very encouraging and would make it unlikely that you are going to test positive later unless something like intravenous drug use or other special circumstances are involved like organ transplant or treatment for cancer.

Antibiotics would not delay seroconversion or skewer your HIV test results.
Andy Velez

Offline katy

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2008, 12:15:50 AM »
Thanks for all of the replies, they are greatly appreciated. Okay, so I am back again this time for myself! I tried to forget this encounter, but I really need some insight!

I went to a female strip club for the first time, and while I was there guys were trying to talk to me. Well, I had a small, open cut on one of my hands (it was not bleeding, but it was open) and two guys in the club grabbed my hand for me to shake their hands. One of the guys touched a naked stripper’s vagina, and before you know it grabbed my hand to shake it. I thought this was so nasty and pulled my hand away from the guy.

So, if the guy had the stripper’s vaginal fluids on his hand from touching her, and then immediately grabbed my hand with the open cut on it to shake it would this be a potential risk for hiv, if the stripper was infected. Please be honest, I am freaking out.

This happened May 12 and a week later May 19, my body ached for 4 days, my throat is still sore and scratchy and I have lost my voice, my nose is stuffy and congested, I’m coughing, I’ve been having a fever on and off and night sweats, and I’m tired! Although hiv cannot be diagnosed by symptoms, does this sound like ARS symptoms?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2008, 06:26:59 AM »
You didn't have an open cut if it wasn't bleeding. No risk in that situation.

Offline Ann

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2008, 07:21:22 AM »
Katy,

When you first came here at the beginning of the month, you said you "recently" tested negative for hiv. This handshaking incident you're talking about (which by the way, is NO risk.) happened nearly a year ago. Your recent test would rule out any infection resulting from your strip club incident.

Keep posting about these no risks incidents and you'll get a time out. Please read the Welcome Thread and abide by our posting guidelines, including this one:

Quote
Anyone who continues to post excessively, questioning a conclusive negative result or no-risk situation, will be subject to a four week Time Out (a temporary ban from the Forums). If you continue to post excessively after one Time Out, you may be given a second Time Out which will last eight weeks. There is no third Time Out - it is a permanent ban. The purpose of a Time Out is to encourage you to seek the face-to-face help we cannot provide on this forum.

Please consider yourself warned.

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline katy

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2008, 01:15:17 PM »
Ann,

 I am sorry I put the wrong dates this incident just happened 2 weeks ago! It happened on Fri. April 11,88 and I started to get sick the following week  Sat. April 19, 08. So this is a recent incident, I put May instead of April! So do I still have nothing to worry about, even though the cut on my hand was split open and I know that the guy had vagina fluids on his hand when he touched my cut hand!

Thanks,
Katy

Offline katy

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2008, 01:23:50 PM »
Again this happened two weeks ago, in April of 2008! So, although the cut on my hand was open because the skin was split, I did not have a risk because the cut was not actively bleeding.

Why is there a risk for a guy who has a cut on his finger and then finger a woman with that same finger, but not for me?

Offline Ann

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Re: Should I really be worried? Please help
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2008, 02:06:01 PM »
Katy,

No, this is yet another no-risk incident. You keep asking the same basic questions over and over and if we haven't gotten the basics through to you by now, I'm at a loss to see how we ever can.

As long as you don't have unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse and do not share needles with other people, then you're worrying needlessly. Really. We wouldn't joke about hiv transmission.

Your time out warning stands.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

 


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