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I'm fine to know but have a phobia of needles

March 23, 2016

Huntington's Disease Youth Organization

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I'm fine to know but have a phobia of needles

Q. Hi I’m Elle, My mum, grandad and great auntie have huntingtons and I want to get tested. I’m fine with knowing if I’ve got it or not but the only thing is I have a really bad phobia of needles. I’m desperate to find out but the thought of having a blood test makes me feel sick. Is there anything I can do? Really need some advice.


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A. Dear Elle,

Thank you for your question, I am sorry to hear about your phobia of needles (which is quite common).

For anyone considering a predictive test for HD, the first step would be to arrange an appointment with a Genetic Counsellor. A predictive test for HD always involves several appointments prior to taking the sample anyway, so you could try to put your needle phobia to one side as much as you can (I know this is easier said than done!) so that you can initially just focus on the pros and cons of knowing your genetic status. It sounds like you are pretty certain that you want to know, and the predictive test process is designed to provide information and support with your decision, and also to consider the timing of testing in terms of any other personal circumstances.

If you do decide to proceed with testing, it may be possible to use DNA from a different type of sample to do the test (for example, a saliva sample) but I would not want to promise that this will be available, and you would need to ask your Genetic Counsellor whether this could be an option for you. I note that you live in the East Midlands Elle, so you could ask your GP to refer you to your local Genetics service who could then arrange to see you to discuss all this further.

I wish you all the best with this, and please do not hesitate to get back in touch if you have any other queries, or if you would like any help accessing your local Genetics service.

Best wishes