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Author Topic: Terrified and looking for answers  (Read 3442 times)

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Offline itswritteninthestars

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Terrified and looking for answers
« on: July 02, 2012, 09:47:27 AM »
First off, thank you all for what you do, you've helped alot of people and I think the impact you have on everyone is great.
Especially you Ann

This will be a rather lengthy post, so my apologies ahead of time

Let me start off by saying, I'm a 24 year old heterosexual female with very severe OCD and anxiety issues and being raised a child in the 90's when HIV was fairly new to the world, they scared the hell out of us with it in school to the point its actually traumatized me.
My phobia showed up when i was about 17 and as i get older it seems to get worse. As anyone with OCD or a phobia knows, the best way to get rid of it is to face it head on and for the past year thats what i've been trying to do. I've even become a volunteer for my local Aids project and done HIV/AIDS walks to help those who are living with this condition and to show my support, learning everything i can about HIV to lessen the fear. You'd think i'd be doing well right? WRONG


On to my situation:

I'm in dire need of some help here. Several people have told me I'm absolutely crazy, and maybe they're right but I need some real help from people who know what they're talking about.

On May 20th, I attended an AIDS walk thinking this would help my anxieties and to help raise awareness like usual.

while i was there, i noticed they had a testing tent set up where you could get tested for HIV via a rapid test. I had never taken a rapid test before, all my tests had been done the traditional way. I walked up to the tent and was checking it out and an african american man comes up to me and says "are you thinking about getting tested today" i say "yeah" and he leads me into the tent and into a closed off area, closes the curtain behind us, and we sit down while he gets ready. I wasent real sure what to expect so i just sat there kinda nervous. I watched him put on his gloves, clean my finger with a little alcohol pad and
I see him getting supplies out of plastic bags behind him but cant see what he's doing.
he pulls out a unigold test, a suction straw, and two lancets (none of this was packaged together and i didnt see him remove the caps from either lancet)
he looks at one of the lancets odd while holding the other in his hand, sets it on the table, and uses the one in his hand on me. He does the test, its negative, drops the lancet he used on me in a small plastic bucket with others, I ask if i can keep my test since i'd never taken one like that before and he replies "I'd let you have it if i could but its considered bio hazard material and i have to throw it away" and he sends me on my way.

After i think about this, it starts to really freak me out and i get these thoughts running through my head:

"What if the needle wasent clean?"
"What if he was prejudice and intentionally hurt me with a dirty one?"
"What if the needles weren't the ones he was issued, he'd brought in others and they were hollow bore and not sterile"
"He could have made those and used them on me"
"would he take advantage of the fact I said i've never taken a rapid test to infect me"

After a while it ate at me and ate at me and ate at me, to the point my fear had gotten so bad i was vomiting daily from bad nerves thinking i was infected from someone who was suppose to help prevent HIV.

I called the Aids project who put on the walk and asked them about the lancets (before this incident i had no idea what a lancet even was) and they told me all their lancets were single use and i had nothing to worry about. Still. I cant let it go. I found out the man that tested me works with homosexual and bisexual men and again it went through my head that maybe he could have been prejudice against me for being a heterosexual white woman and would have the intent to hurt me.

To this day, im still losing sleep over it, i still cant eat properly and i've been tested 3 times (the last at 38 days prior incident)

My questions are:

-How likely are my chances of contracting anything this way?
-Would anything show up on my antibody tests being a fully healthy person at 38 days?
-Should I let this go?

I'm on new medication for OCD and anxiety but this particular incident just wont go away.
What should i do?!

Offline Ann

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 09:56:39 AM »
its,


My questions are:

-How likely are my chances of contracting anything this way?
-Would anything show up on my antibody tests being a fully healthy person at 38 days?
-Should I let this go?

What should i do?!


-You have NO chance of getting hiv this way.

-The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being only 22 days. A six week negative must be confirmed at the three month point - where there has actually been a risk and you have NOT had a risk - but is highly unlikely to change.

-Yes, you should absolutely let this go and get on with your life.

What should you do? You said "As anyone with OCD or a phobia knows, the best way to get rid of it is to face it head on..." WRONG! Not without the face-to-face help of a qualified therapist.

There is a therapy called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) where you are taught how to change your thought patterns. I suggest you look into it and stop trying to play therapist with yourself. Even therapists must go to other therapists when they have problems, they do not treat themselves.

You need face-to-face therapy. Meds for OCD alone are not enough, particularly in a case as severe as yours.

You have NOT had a risk for hiv infection and you do NOT need to test over this situation, unless that is the only way you're going to let this go.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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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 itswritteninthestars

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 10:46:35 AM »
Thanks for the reply Ann,
I probably really do sound crazy and who is to say im not, but this has really eaten me alive. I'm working on the whole therapy thing, i just haven't got someone lined up yet.

Its gotten so bad i started LOOKING for ARS symptoms, I got some little bumps on my sides that went away within a couple days, i was convinced that was my rash. I did get a rash on my inner elbow on my left arm a few weeks ago, i was convinced that was related too. I also recently acquired bacterial vaginosis (which i get quite frequently actually) and thought that was a sign too.
Its totally consumed my life.

I just wish it would all go away. I'll tell you one thing, after i get over all this, I will NEVER get tested outdoors again by someone i don't know well.

I wouldn't worry quite so much if it wasent for the fact i have a wonderful boyfriend and we've been talking about getting married. I've been terrified that I'm going to give him something to the point we haven't even had sex recently.

But generally people with good immune systems would have tested positive by now if they had a risk and were infected correct?

thanks again.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 11:10:24 AM »
Fortunately your fears and doubts have absolutely no basis in HIV science. Which equals NO RISK.

Get yourself some professional help. Life at its longest is too short to be spent worrying about something that you don't have. Really.

HIV is not your problem.
Andy Velez

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 12:59:59 PM »
I would submit that at this stage in your recovery from OCD you should NOT be working in close contact with people who have HIV.

You think we don't notice the cringing, the reluctance., the wariness. We do, and it hurts.

If you MUST work in this organization, please make it a behind the scenes paperwork situation. Where you do not gett he chance to deeply hurt the feelings of people who are already emotionally compromised and vulnerable.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline itswritteninthestars

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  • Posts: 9
Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 03:46:16 PM »
Well believe me i have no intention of hurting anyone's feelings, and I WANT to help those living with HIV, I honestly like helping people a lot and i find those living with this condition unbelievably strong. I really wish some of their courage and light would rub off on me. 
I think one of the reasons I'm so scared of this is because I know so little about it, I was just raised ignorant on it all. Like i said, I was raised in the 90's where this was just a gay mans disease that affected homosexuals, bisexuals and drug users and that was about all i was taught, other than if you got it you were basically dead. I know this isnt the case and alot of information i got when i was young was wrong.

The only reason I decided I wanted to work with positive people was to teach myself I really have no reason to be terrified and to make some new friends along the way.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 04:12:49 PM »
Whatever. At this point since you have not had a risk there is no reason for you to be returning to this forum. Move on with your life in whatever way you want to.

There is nothing more we can do for you and your unwarranted fears in this setting.

If you continue to return here you are going to find yourself getting a Time Out from the site. Consider yourself warned.
Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2012, 08:28:31 AM »
its,

You know, I have to agree with Jonathan about you not volunteering at ASOs (aids service organisations). You might think you have honourable intentions, you might not want to hurt anyone, but that doesn't mean you're not unintentionally hurting people, or making it uncomfortable for them to be around you.

When positive people (particularly newly diagnosed people) know someone hiv-phobic like you is working at an ASO whose services they need, it can cause them to be reluctant to access those services.

I know this from first-hand experience. The ASO I belong to is in a city with a lot of universities and they (the ASO) offer work-experience placements for social-work students. Sometimes these kids are hiv-phobic and you can spot one a mile off.

While it only irritates me now, when I was newly diagnosed it really bothered me - to the point of nearly never going back.

I thought I was in the one place where I would be accepted and not have to worry about people freaking out about breathing the same air as me or touching the same doorknobs as I did.

So imagine how bad it made me feel when I, a newly diagnosed individual, shook hands with one of the work-experience students and she immediately ran to the sink (we were in the kitchen area) to wash her hands.

She wasn't expecting it - I reached out and took her hand while thanking her for some pamphlets she gave me - by putting them on the table, by the way. She didn't even want to hand me something, only I didn't realise that until I witnessed her reaction.

I was devastated. I left the place in tears, vowing to never go back.

Fortunately, one of the positive staff members rang me to apologise on her behalf and told me they had withdrawn her work-placement. Only because of that did I go back.

You may not have ever done anything so overt, but believe me, you don't have to. When people with hiv-phobia like you are around us, we can practically smell it on you.

We can see it in your faces, no matter how much you smile at us.

You gave us two reasons for wanting to work in an ASO.

"I WANT to help those living with HIV, I honestly like helping people a lot"

and

"The only reason I decided I wanted to work with positive people was to teach myself I really have no reason to be terrified"

I suspect the second reason is closer to the mark. You're trying to do therapy on the cheap, under the guise of doing something good. You have convinced yourself that you're helping us, but you're only using us to help yourself. And probably hurting a lot of feelings in the process.

You need to quit working with an ASO, get your shit together and find a therapist sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, you will not be permitted to use this forum as another substitute for face-to-face therapy.

Ann



edited to fix glaring typos
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 08:38:44 AM by 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

Offline itswritteninthestars

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  • Posts: 9
Weird question
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2012, 01:28:03 AM »
I'm educating myself on the transmission of HIV because i knew so little about it in the past and got a question for you guys.
I know you deal with a lot of worry wells (even myself) but i cant seem to find an answer to a question and i dont want to scour the internet to get incorrect information. I'd rather get it from people who know (like all of you).

I now know HIV cant be transmitted through any environmental surfaces.
BUT can anyone tell me how long HIV can live in a hollow bore needle?
I understand why its transmitted from IV drug user to user since they pass the works between each other pretty quickly.
I heard it does not live very long but i was wondering if anyone knew a time frame? mins, hours?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 01:36:36 AM »
First off you have a lot to learn. HIV is not alive it is either active or inactive. It only takes a second for HIV to become inactive.

Offline itswritteninthestars

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2012, 01:41:21 AM »
I know that when its outside the body, Im just curious about hollow bore needles. input?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2012, 01:45:34 AM »
Same as anything else that is exposed. Blood in a syringe is not exposed.

Offline itswritteninthestars

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2012, 01:48:49 AM »
really? So if its a hollow bore needle with blood inside of it, but not connected to an ACTUAL syringe it becomes inactive same as anywhere else?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2012, 02:01:27 AM »
Correct. Now seek some help with your OCD. Hanging around an HIV forum is not going to be helpful for your condition.

Offline itswritteninthestars

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2012, 02:09:52 AM »
Oh i am.  :)
I've learned alot from your site while i've been going through all that though.
Like i said, you guys know what you're talking about, its very informative.

So im curious now, how do nurses acquire HIV from needle stick injuries if the virus becomes inactive so quickly? (even though this doesnt happen often)
I understand now that the barrel of the syringe poses the risk as its air tight, correct?
but if a nurse is stuck and it can become inactive on the needle itself within a short amount of time, how does transmission occur since its not directly into a vein nor had the plunger pushed?
thats where i'm lost.
Does it have to happen IMMEDIATELY after its used on a patient or how does that work?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2012, 02:14:04 AM »
This isn't HIV101. this is an assessment forum.

Offline itswritteninthestars

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Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2012, 02:19:14 AM »
Just trying to understand :( thats all

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2012, 07:01:08 AM »
its,

Cases of occupational transmission (re: when a nurse has a needle stick injury) are actually very rare, particularly when you consider that occupational needle stick injuries are very common. Needle stick injuries happen thousands of times every day.

The last time I read up on the stats for occupational transmission due to needle stick injury (about five years ago) there had only been around 100 documented cases in the US - 25 years into the pandemic. We are now 30 years into the pandemic and I doubt that number has changed significantly - if at all.

In most - if not all - cases where occupational transmission has occurred, the source patient had a very, very high viral load and the needle stick occurred immediately following a blood-draw procedure.

I fail to understand why you are worrying about needle stick injury. You're not in the health care field and community needle stick injuries resulting in hiv infection are nothing more than an urban myth. It has never, ever, happened. "Community needle stick injuries" refers to people getting pricked by needles left lying around somewhere.

As Rodney pointed out, this forum is for providing risk assessment and testing information. It's not meant to provide virobiology lessons and it's not meant as a substitute for face-to-face therapy.

As you are obviously still trying to use this forum as a substitute for face-to-face therapy, I'm giving you that time out you've been warned about.

Do not attempt to create a new account to get around your time out because if you do, you will be permanently banned.

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

Offline itswritteninthestars

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possible?
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2012, 08:30:06 PM »
Hey guys, I have a question. I know you dont want me here so i'll make it short and sweet.
Yesterday i went for an HIV test, just to ease my mind. They used a clearview rapid test on me, a new lancet. No issues there.
I just have a question regarding the test its self. When he put the lil straw to my finger attached to the test, I wondered if it was already previously used. Is it possible for HIV to be transmitted in this manor if it had been previous used and touched my already bleeding finger. I asked a couple nurses about this and they say its possible. But from what i understand, HIV cannot be transmitted through environmental surfaces and blood comes OUT not in.
Am i right or are the nurses?
thanks!

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Terrified and looking for answers
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2012, 09:15:11 AM »
it's,

You're correct - you're not going to become infected from the tube used to collect your blood, even if the tube was used previously.

But come on, think about it. They're not going to re-use the collection tube. For a start, I doubt that it would work properly because any blood left over in the tube would start to clot and clog the tube up. Those tubes are tiny and it wouldn't take much to clog one up.

Unless you're having unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, then all your worries about hiv are seriously irrational. I suggest you get into therapy - and this isn't the first time I've made this suggestion to you. Just go do it already.

You're not going to be permitted to use this forum as a substitution for therapy and you will quickly be given a second time out if you continue.

Please consider yourself warned for the last time!!!

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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