[Question #2485] HIV worry!

43 months ago
Hello Drs,  thank you for all you do and for all the help you give!  I have OCD and it's been under control for a while. But recently I have started to get a 99.3 temp in the evening  the last 2-3 nights and I start to worry about possible HIV .  I'm married for 25 yrs and don't do drugs.
May 17-June2 we went on vacation to Maui and I spent a lot of time at the beach. I keep thinking and having thoughts of what if I had stepped on a used needle in the sand!! And now I'm infected! There was a few times I felt something in the bottom of my foot and I looked and there was nothing there. Just sand! Is this a legitimate worry? I donate blood regularly and donated 21 days after my trip. The Red Cross sent me a thank you and just the other day a email telling me which hospital my blood donation went to!  This OCD gets me worrying every time I don't feel good or now with this 99.3 temp.  Please help me! I'm trying to reassure my self that there was no risk! I hate being this way!!! I'm taking Zoloft for the OCD, synthroid and losartan htzc for high blood pressure.   Thank you for any help and advice.. constant worry is a horrible way to live!!!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
43 months ago
Welcome back. I reviewed your previous two threads. My replies will not be materially different than the ones you had a few months ago from Dr. Hook and Ms. Warren.

As Dr. Hook reminded you (and you undoubtedly know) simply knowing the facts and probabilities is almost never sufficient to overcome fears and anxieties inflated by OCD. There's always a "what if", "yes but", or "maybe I'm the exception" sort of question.

Your "fever":  First, this doesn't sound abnormal, especially if you otherwise feel well. There are essentially no illness that cause fever without other symptoms. And everybody's temperature reaches 99.3 or even higher from time to time, especially in the afternoon or evening. 98.6 is not the maximum normal tempterature, but the average if taken several times over a day or two.) If you otherwise feel well, it is unlikely you have a fever and should consider 99.3 normal. And in the event you really do have fever, HIV would never cause fever without a whole lot of other quite abnormal symptoms. It would not be subtle!

As for walking on the beach, it is hard for me to imagine getting stuck by a used needle and not knowing it at the time. Second, this is one of those theoretical risks that have little reality. To my knowledge, there has never been a single reported cases of HIV acquired by getting stuck by a used drug injection needle. You certainly won't be the first.

Finally, you obviously had a negative HIV test in conjunection with your recent blood donation.

Beyond that, all I can do is suggest you discuss your current worries with your personal physician and/or the therapist who manages your OCD. I'm confident they will both echo my reassurance.

I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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43 months ago
Hi Dr HHH, thank you for your help. You right about OCD and thinking I'm that one person in a million!  I know I think irrationally at times and it's frustrating.  When I was at the beach, I would feel like I stepped on something and always look and see nothing! I know it was sand and lava stones which are sharp. But the mind gets going! I know I didn't have any risks or need to worry. Just every time I have ache or don't feel right, I equate it with hiv even though I haven't had any risks !  And I've donated blood 36 times. The last was 29 days ago.  21 days after I got back from Hawaii.  I know  I have nothing to worry about! and as you've said in the past to others. Don't have sex w people whose status you don't know and don't share drug works! Worrying about other ways is a waste of emotional energy!! Thank you or your valuable time!!!!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
43 months ago
Thanks for your understanding (intellectually, even if you're not quite there emotionally), and for your kind comments about our services. Good luck to you.

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