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Nurse, pregnant with OCD and major HIV fears PLEASE help
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Nurse, pregnant with OCD and major HIV fears PLEASE help

Hi everyone,

I would just like some reassurance on my latest obsession which is a major fear that I have acquired HIV at work. I am 29 weeks pregnant and my OCD has skyrocketed out of control due to the hormones. Before becoming pregnant I was managing well with no medications.

I work as a nurse and when I was 20 weeks I came into contact with a baby who's mother has genital herpes, and this started this whole obsession. It lasted about 6 weeks, where I had multiple doctor visits and swabs (all negative, just random marks on the skin). Just as I was starting to get over this fear of getting genital herpes from a baby who didn't even have herpes (crazy aren't I) I get a sore throat and headache, so I googled my symptoms (terrible idea). One post came back with the symptoms of HIV and there it began. It is consuming me with fear, that I have contracted it and given it to my baby and husband. It's all I think about, and it's making me feel very depressed.

This is my theoretical exposure:
I've been removing a cannula at work, and a tiny spec of blood has flicked into my eye, so small I didn't notice it. Even though the risk is so low even if that did happen and the person is HIV+, my risk is higher because I read somewhere it is easier to become infected if you are pregnant. I have had a HIV test a few weeks ago and it was negative, but of course it would be because its probably been only a few weeks since I got splashed and it takes 3 months for tests to be accurate.

My GP has reffered me to a psychologist and psychiatrist and I am making an appointment this morning, as last night I did not sleep at all over this, it is really affecting my life.

My question is - do you think you would notice if blood splashed in your eye, even if it was a little amount? And is it really true that being pregnant increases your risk of becoming positive, or is this only through sexual intercourse.

I hope somebody can help me even a little bit, I don't think I can continue working as a nurse because I feel like my whole life will be constantly thinking I have been exposed to HIV or Hep C or something infectious.
Thanks :)
7 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
From my understanding you are at zero risk for exposure. You definately have issues with anxiety and OCD that I think speaking with a therapist can help. Your exposure risk is zero and you shouldn't let this bother you. You are going to have a baby, so get excited for that!

I would journal your thoughts before your meeting with your psychologist. This helps a lot and it will give you some ideas where to start when speaking with your psychologist.

Best of luck!
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1699033_tn?1345482688
Hi there Penny....You are bringing back some bad memories for me but ones that allow me to completely symptathize with your situation.  Pregnancy and OCD did not mix for me.

Do I personally think you would know if something splashed in your eye, I think you would.  I can remember times when this has happened to me.  It has happened at work with various chemical solutions throughout my career and although it was just a tiny drop, I noticed.  It didn't even have to sting, I could feel it and off to the eye wash I went.  Luckily nothing bad ever happened.  This is why I think you would know if anything got in your eye.  

Therefore, you have to chalk all this HIV irrational thinking up to OCD.  Just like the Herpes...you got over that one and so of course something else has to take its place because that is how OCD works and that something is now HIV.  

I have no idea about pregnancy being tied to an increased risk of HIV from a true exposure.  Maybe Nursegirl knows something about this.  But since you didn't really have a true exposure, it is a moot point.  

As far as the psychologist and psychiatrist go, they helped me when I was pregnant but I will admit that I didn't even make it as far as you have before I had to go on medication.  It is always a choice but not something you have to do.  I think that with close monitoring and a good grasp of CBT, you can make it the rest of the way medication free.  You need to find a way to calm yourself especially at night so that you can get the sleep you need.  It is very hard to fight off OCD during the day when you are dog tired.  So try some relaxation techniques such as meditation, taking a nice long walk at night, drinking warm milk and sitting in the bath reading a book because you need that distraction.  

I wish you the best and congratulations on your impending birth.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you both for your comments, they have made me feel better and I've read them a few times today when I begin to have panic attack like feelings. I really hope this will resolve once I have had the baby as I find this the most difficult thing I've ever had to go through with my OCD. It's funny because in the past I always think my obtrusive thoughts are so unbearable and could never be worse than they are in that moment, but this really takes the cake. I know that there is no risk of exposure, and I really have no symptoms, but when I am lying in bed at night with only my thoughts, my mind is able to create such bizarre links that I can't convince myself aren't true. I hate feeling like this :( its taking the enjoyment out of my pregnancy completely.
Jgf25 did you find your OCD improved after you gave birth? I feel I will be at high risk of postnatal depression because of my OCD.
I tried ringing the psychiatrist today and they are booked out for the next 6 months! And the psychologist didn't answer. I guess I'll keep trying the psychologist.
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1699033_tn?1345482688
I cannot truly answer your question about the postnatal depression because I started taking medication (Prozac, low dose) around my 14th week of my first pregnancy.  I stayed on the prozac all the way through my second pregnancy so I never went off of it until when my second child was maybe 2 or so.  I also didn't feel like I could breastfeed either since I was taking medication.  

Also, the OCD you are battling while not pregnant...that needs to be dealt with as well.  Ideally, you should be able to say "whatever" to any OCD irrational thought and let it go so something to think about after you give birth as far as continuing your treatment.

Lastly, since you work in a hospital do they have a psychiatric group you can see?  I know the hospital I work at (I'm in the school/research part of it) has a group and I saw both a psychologist and psychiatrist there while I was pregnant.  Now they don't take my insurance so this last crisis episode last year I used a social worker through the benefits office for free a few times and she helped a lot.  Also, they have contacts with psychologists and psychiatrists that maybe they can point you to.  So perhaps a social worker at your hospital?  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello. I am 27 weeks pregnant and also suffering from OCD. It is absolutely miserable. I would love to talk with you more. How are things now for you? Please feel free to email me at ***@****. I would love to have someone to walk through this with.
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Avatar_f_tn
I guess the site stops email postings. Perhaps you can private message me and we can exchange there.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi steph, I sent you a private message :)
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