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Please Answer my question

Question: 

Hi,
I have an extreme fear of needles, sharp objects and fear of hiv. I apologize for my questions but I really need some one to answer this. I constantly worry about this all the time. I know I need help, but believe me I have tried several times, talking to doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, medicine...unfortunately nothing has helped me.

Quickly, let me give you the complete story. A few months ago my neighbors were being excessively loud very late outside. Teenagers, were having a party and they were playing music so late. I called the cops and asked them to go to their house (since it was almost 1 am) to have them turn the music off. It is not the first time I have called on them. I did call once before that a few years back. Anyway, I got nervous what if they do something to us because we called the cops. The neighbors somehow knew it was us because one of the parents, who must have been inside the house when the kids were outside making all that noise, was home and must have spoke with the cops. She apologized for her kids making noise the next day, either because she knew it was that we called the cops or maybe the cops mentioned that it was us next store that made a complaint. Regardless, I worried I hope they do not do anything to our house etc.
Now fast forward to a few months - about a week or so ago. My husband was in the backyard, we have a very woodsy area, he was trimming bushes and trees and usually he does this with gloves on but he was doing it very quickly and so he trimmed a bunch of brush that was overgrowing near our garden which is located in the back yard and the woods are around us and our next door neighbors, (who we called the cops on) house is right there, in the back yard where the kids hang out you can see them through the trees and bushes when we are in our back yard. Anyway, my husband was trimming all the bushes WITHOUT gloves and he picked up the stuff to throw it further into the woods and he got poked in his finger by something sharp. Once he told me about it I freaked out automatically thinking what if he got poked by a used needle that the kids threw from their yard over to our yard, with the intent to harm us while doing yard work, because they are upset we called the cops on them a few months ago. My husband, did not see anything really and just assumed it was a branch however, carried on like it was nothing. There were no thorns over where he was picking up all the stuff he trimmed and so my thought is what if it was a needle. Now I am intensely worried and upset thinking what if he got poked with an hiv infected needles. God knows what kids are doing partying in their yard, most likely drinking but my mind is thinking what if they are doing drugs and shooting up..who knows. Because it happened to my husband, my fear is now hiv and that I have it too because my husband and I have sex. So I ask you please kindly answer me and tell me if this is me being irrational or if this is a legit concern. I have no one to talk to about this and my husband says if I ask him if it is a needle again he is going to flip out. I mean, I do not understand why he is not concerned about a needle and just assumes it was a sharp branch that happened to poke his finger. Please tell me if I should be concerned about hiv (since I have sex with my husband) or if this story sounds highly irrational. Has anyone ever got HIV from poking their finger with a needle on the ground? Lastly, I know you were not there, however, after hearing this story, would you think it was a needle too or do you think it is because I have this extreme fear that I am just automatically think this and should I be worried now that my husband and I now have hiv? Is this likely to happen please please please help. I am so upset/depressed and worried I am freaking out all my myself.

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about acquiring HIV through a needle stick injury and intercourse. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be High Risk (Evidence of transmission through these activities and is the majority of cases of transmission).

HIV can be acquired by the bodily fluid containing HIV having direct access to the bloodstream of an individual who is negative status through a high risk activity (1).

In this scenario you have stated your husband may have been pricked by a needle. When a needle stick injury occurs and the individual is concerned of HIV acquisition PEP may be taken as an emergency option. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) involves taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected (2). PEP must be taken within 72 hours of exposure (2). Since the 72 hours has passed it is recommended that an HIV test be taken in order to be aware of your own status. Knowing your status can help relieve stress and is important to maintain your health. The window period is different depending on what test you are taking. A nucleic acid test (NAT) has a window period of 10 to 33 days after an exposure, antigen/antibody test from a lab is 18 to 45 days, and an antigen/antibody tests done with a finger prick is 18 to 90 days after an exposure (3). Typically, a HIV test can be taken for an accurate test result is between 4-6 weeks after exposure (3). It is also recommended to have an additional test taken after the window period for assurance.

You stating you have intercourse with your husband is high risk when it is unprotected. This activity would satisfy the transmission equation and presents an opportunity for acquisition.

The only way to know if someone is HIV positive is to take a test, therefore it is recommended that HIV tests be taken by both your husband and yourself.

Recommendation: Refer to Physician for HIV test.

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Danielle