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Author Topic: Coping during the three months  (Read 3899 times)

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Offline DivotMaker

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Coping during the three months
« on: December 01, 2006, 11:24:33 PM »
Yesterday morning, I went into a local clinic for a rapid HIV test.  It has been over 6 months since my possible exposure incident (heterosexual intercourse) but I needed to be as certain as possible for my own peace of mind.  The assistant used a finger stick device but was unable to draw enough blood, so she left and came back and tried again.  My issue is that I honestly don't remember if she used a new finger stick device or reused the old one.  She seemed very new and actually started without any gloves on before another assistant told her to get some gloves on.  I called the clinic to inquire and was first told that they don't reuse the devices because they have to be recharged.  That didn't make much sense to me, so I spoke to someone else who said they don't reuse them because they become dull after the first stick.  Getting two different stories bothered me, but I'm now asking myself if this is just my inability to come to grips with the fact that things are okay.   On one website I read that when these devices are reused, there's a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of getting HIV.  Either way, if anyone can share some information on these finger stick devices, I'd greatly appreciate it.  Thanks for a great website.u

Offline Rhino

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Re: Overly Concerned?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2006, 01:04:52 AM »
The finger prick device my clinic used for my test didn't have a single needle. It had a cartridge with several very small cone shape points lined up in a row. Every time the device is used the top point that penetrates the skin is dislodged and has to be discarded before the tool can be used again and the next clean point is pushed into place by a spring action. When the points run out the attendant then loads a new cartridge with new points(a recharge so to speak).

The people that make these things know what they will be used for and try a much as possible to eliminate any risk due to human error.

I am pretty much certain you will not be infected this way. Soon one of the experts will be along and give you a much more informed answer.

Offline DivotMaker

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Re: Overly Concerned?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2006, 11:12:45 AM »
Thank you for the reply Rhino.  Your explanation makes a lot of sense and explains why the first person told me they had to be "recharged" after each use.  I'm just trying to figure out why the second person told me they can't reuse them because they get "dull" after the initial use.  Seems like a contradiction.  I've tried doing some research on these devices online but only find information related to diabetics and the use of lancets.  Some articles have said you shouldn't use them more than a couple times. 

Thanks again for your reply.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2006, 11:19:32 AM by DivotMaker »

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Overly Concerned?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2006, 11:47:24 AM »
Divot, you've put your finger on the issue yourself. It isn't about needles. It's about you coming to terms with the fact that "things are okay."

Your concerns about the needle used is in the domain of "what if." What if is a very slippery slope to get on to and one which doesn't get you to anyplace good.

Maybe it's some lingering feelings you have about that past incident. I don't know. But I do know you have no reason grounded in HIV science to be doubting the reliability of your test result.

Cheers,
Andy Velez

Offline DivotMaker

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Re: Overly Concerned?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2006, 04:02:50 PM »
Andy,

You are absolutely right that this path is not one that will lead to productive results.  The "what if" game can go on forever and drive a person over the edge.  I know I need to speak to a mental health professional and will be doing so.  You say my concern is not founded by HIV science.  I'm curious as to your reasoning behind that statement...Is it because finger sticks can't be reused or because you can't get infected by the reuse of one?  Thanks.

Offline DivotMaker

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Re: blood contact
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2006, 10:31:53 PM »
Hi Ann,

My intent is not to hijack this post, but to get clarification on your statement below.  When you say "HIV cannot survive in a transmittable state when outside the human body" I don't quite understand that statement since folks can get HIV through the sharing of needles during drug use. I read through the welcome pages but didn't see this specifically addressed. I'm sorry to sound ignorant, but can you explain a little more about this?  Thank you.

Hiv is not transmitted from environmental surfaces (and the gloves qualify as an environmental surface). Hiv cannot survive in a transmittable state when outside the human body. It is a fragile, difficult to transmit virus that is primarily transmitted INSIDE the human body, as in unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse. Please read the Welcome Thread and follow the Transmission Lesson link so you can learn what is and isn't a risk for hiv infection.


Ann


Offline HIVworker

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Re: blood contact
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2006, 10:42:19 PM »
She means that the virus doesn't survive outside of the body alone. If it is in a nice tube (needle) that is used to inject drugs and then used straight away to inject into someone else, the blood gets transferred to the next person. HIV can survive for that long. However, if the fluid dries, HIV inactivates.

R
NB. Any advice about HIV is given in addition to your own medical advice and not intended to replace it. You should never make clinical decisions based on what anyone says on the internet but rather check with your ID doctor first. Discussions from the internet are just that - Discussions. They may give you food for thought, but they should not direct you to do anything but fuel discussion.

Offline DivotMaker

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Re: blood contact
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2006, 11:19:39 PM »
Ah, that makes sense.  Any idea how long it takes to dry?  Reason I ask (and now it will seem like I'm hi-jacking this thread) is that in one of my other posts I asked about the possibility of becoming infected through the reuse of a finger stick device.  Seems like this rule would apply to those devices as well, which would go a long way in alleviating some of my worries right now.  Thank you.

Offline HIVworker

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Re: blood contact
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2006, 11:52:07 PM »
dont hijack this thread. ask it in your own thread.
NB. Any advice about HIV is given in addition to your own medical advice and not intended to replace it. You should never make clinical decisions based on what anyone says on the internet but rather check with your ID doctor first. Discussions from the internet are just that - Discussions. They may give you food for thought, but they should not direct you to do anything but fuel discussion.

Offline DivotMaker

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Re: blood contact
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2006, 11:54:15 PM »
My apologies.

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Overly Concerned?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2006, 08:09:28 AM »
Divot,

Please do not hijack other threads. The only place you should ask questions or make comments is here in your own thread. I've removed your hijack and placed it here, in your own thread. I hope I don't have to do that again for you.

As I said, hiv is a fragile, difficult to transmit virus. Small changes in temperature, moisture content and pH levels all damage the surface of the virus and when the surface is damaged, it can no longer latch onto another cell in order to infect it. It doesn't take long for this to happen.

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 Mark45

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Stuck by a box cutter
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2006, 04:59:27 PM »
Hello all,

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, I had parked my car in a lot and as I was shutting the door I dropped some coins.  I reached down to get them, and was stuck by one of those small plastic box cutters with the edges that break off.  I didn't see it as it was under some leaves, but it cut me enough that I bled.  I didn't think anything of it until today and I came across this site and was wondering if someone with more experience might be able to give me some directions.  As for the facts, I know the area I park in is known for drug deals and a lot of crime.  I was the first car there that morning and probably the last car to leave the night before.  They lock the gates at night and it's probably not possible for someone to get inside.  But, during the day, people do wander through the lot.  So, if I had to guess, I'd say the bot cutter was there for about 15 hours give or take.  The scary thing is it looked like there might have been some smudges of something red (blood) already on one of those little edges, but I didn't really take too close of a look.  Now I'm pretty worried after everything I've started to read online.  Any comments would be greatly appreciated to help me get through this.

Regards,

Mark

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Stuck by a box cutter
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2006, 05:05:19 PM »
No risk except for Titnus, go get a Titnus booster.

Offline HIVworker

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  • Posts: 918
  • HIV researcher
Re: Stuck by a box cutter
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2006, 05:24:00 PM »
You mean tetanus Rapid ;)

R
NB. Any advice about HIV is given in addition to your own medical advice and not intended to replace it. You should never make clinical decisions based on what anyone says on the internet but rather check with your ID doctor first. Discussions from the internet are just that - Discussions. They may give you food for thought, but they should not direct you to do anything but fuel discussion.

Offline Mark45

  • Member
  • Posts: 3
Re: Stuck by a box cutter
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2006, 06:19:38 PM »
Ok, sorry to be a pest, but I'm the kind of person that likes to understand things (I'm a mechanic).  The whole reason I posted is that I read on another site that blood on an external item (needle, or box cutter in this instance) can be a transfer agent for HIV.  I'm just concerned that there already was blood on the end of the box cutter.  I read another post on here about the guy concerned with the finger stick device being used multiple times and the response was also not to worry, but I'm just trying to figure out the "why" part of "not to worry".  I understand HIV cannot live long outside of the body, and I'm wondering if that's why you are saying there's no reason to worry.  But, as I mentioned, my best guess is the box cutter was there for around 15 hours tops.  Couldn't have been more because the lot is cleaned every day with a leaf blower during this time of year.

Thanks again for your help.

Offline RapidRod

  • Member
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Re: Stuck by a box cutter
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2006, 07:09:07 PM »
ROFL, yeah R you know what I mean.  ;)

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Stuck by a box cutter
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2006, 07:41:37 PM »
Mark, your concerns are totally in the realm of what-ifs. What if it had been used by or somehow got blood on it from someone who was HIV+, etc.

HIV is a fragile virus. It is not easily transmitted. Even if your initial what ifs actually occured which there's no evidence for other than your imaginings, it would not have remained viable laying about in the air in that circumstance. Really.

Please read the lesson on Transmission on this site. You'll find a link to it in the Welcome thread which opens this section.

There's no need for further concern nor for testing about HIV. As Rod has pointed out, tetanus is a more likely consideration. Discuss that with your doctor.

As far as HIV is concerned, forget about it. No kidding.

Cheers, 
Andy Velez

Offline Mark45

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  • Posts: 3
Re: Stuck by a box cutter
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2006, 09:29:31 PM »
Thank you Andy for the link and explanation.  Just the kind of info I was after.

Regards,

Mark

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Stuck by a box cutter
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2006, 10:37:47 AM »
Glad you found our exchange to be helpful, Mark.

Cheers,
Andy Velez

Offline Lorenzo65

  • member
  • Posts: 1
Coping during the three months
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2006, 11:48:50 PM »
Three weeks ago, I had a relationship with a woman that I shouldn't have.  Unprotected intercourse to top it off.  From reading on this board, it seems the general consensus is to get tested at 3 months.  It's only been three weeks and I'm barely able to control my stress and stay sane.  Is there any point in testing early, say at the 6 week mark?  Or would I just be wasting my time?  I'm in pretty good health otherwise, but the stress is steadily taking a toll on me.  To top it off, I feel like I'm coming down with a cold (I know, symptoms, or the lack of symptoms, don't mean anything) but I'm really starting to panic.  The second part of my question is how do folks cope during this 3 month waiting game?  I try to stay focused and think about good things, but it seems like every time I turn around something I see or read reminds me of my situation.  Thank you.

Cheers.

Offline worried1972

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  • Member
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Re: Coping during the three months
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2006, 12:29:17 AM »
Lorenzo,

On medhelp.org, the doctor says 6 weeks is a pretty good timeline and you are 98 - 99% home free with a neg test.  Also, Trinity  Biotech has a uni-gold test that is 99% accurate at 5 weeks.  The Boulder County Clinic uses this test but I am not sure who else uses it.  It is a 10 minute rapid test.  If you really cant wait that long, it might be worth it to get a HIV PCR by DNA test which is costly but 99% accurate at 4 weeks.

Offline Darkfiber

  • Member
  • Posts: 80
Re: Coping during the three months
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2006, 02:51:22 AM »
Hi Lorenzo

6 weeks would be a very good indication of what your conclusive 3 months result will be. All but a very small minority will test positive at 6 weeks.

However, my time on this board showed me, that usually a 6 weeks test only calms down the nerves  for a couple of days and then the fear is coming back. Again, a 6 week test  is a very good sign and rationally very close to a  conclusive result but since the very conservative health-agencies around the world are suggesting 3 months it's not that helpful to those who are in a position of fear and stress.

Now what can you do to cope with the stress: Stay away from google! Don't shop for symptoms and don't look on outdated or biased web-pages. Stay with this page or maybe medhelp.org or thebody.com if you like.
Take a walk more often,do some sports and keep yourself busy. Enjoy a dinner with a friend or just have a nice night out. Find somebody you trust to talk to. If the fear consumes you  try to get professional help! This is nothing to be afraid of or to be embarrassed. It can help tremendously.

Hope this helps! And think about it that way: Hiv is not easy to transmit, even less so from female to male and the chance that your partner was infected is also low.

Try to enjoy the holiday season and don't worry too much!

D.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2006, 02:54:37 AM by Darkfiber »

Offline Ann

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Re: Coping during the three months
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2006, 06:11:47 AM »
worried72,

Please keep all your questions or comments in your own thread only. You are here asking questions yourself and are therefore in no position to be giving advice to others.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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 Coffeechick88

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Re: Coping during the three months
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2006, 06:52:54 AM »
A test at 6 weeks is definitely encouraging, most people who are positive will be positive by that time.  But 3 month test should still be taken to confirm it--that catches the outliers.  That will be definitive.  Don't bother with the PCR test.  As the other poster said, you need to stay away from the internet.  There are countless times when people look up something and become convinced they have a whole host of things or suddenly that cold becomes an HIV symptoms and then 'oh no my nose has been stuffy for 2 weeks--that must mean that my immune system is deteriorating' and 'Oh no, I see red spots and dry skin on my hands.  I think that must have something to do with HIV."  You see where I am going with this?  Also, it really is much easier for a man to give a woman HIV than the other way around.  You can also do things that don't focus on yourself this holiday season.  Be with family, volunteer for someone who is in need--anything to keep yourself from sitting around in self pity and fear.
Lucas James is here
Born 6-14-08 at 1233 am
8 lbs 14 oz, 22 in long

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Coping during the three months
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2006, 06:57:19 AM »
Lorenzo,

Can I ask why you are using different usernames while posting to our forums? Thus far, you have also used DivotMaker and as Mark45 you even talked about yourself when you said "I read another post on here about the guy concerned with the finger stick device being used multiple times and the response was also not to worry".



Please realize that this kind of activity is disrespectful of other forum members, as well as our moderators. People spend a considerable amount of time helping others in these forums. Using multiple accounts is at the very least annoying, if not deceiving and disrespectful of others. It is also against our Terms of Membership which you agreed to when you became a member. This information is also contained within the Welcome Thread, which you should have read by now. So really, you have no excuse.

You must realize that the answers won't change, no matter how many names you post under.

I would appreciate a reply to this message, and I hope you will commit to using just one account - preferably your original one. If not, you will be banned from further access to the forums.


I find it difficult to believe that after registering three times you didn't know about the policy we have of only one account per person. I want to know why I shouldn't just ban you right now and get it over with.

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 Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Coping during the three months
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2006, 08:22:31 AM »
Divot/Mark/Lorenzo,

I've merged all your threads and disabled your two newest accounts. Please return to your original account if you wish to post any further questions or comments to this forum.

You apologised to me personally via PM, but you need to apologise to the rest of the people who have tried, in good faith, to help you here.

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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