[Question #2529] manicure risk

44 months ago
Hello. I´m very scared at the moment. I never thought someone could catch HIV by having cuts in the manicure. But the more I browse the internet more panic I get. The thing is I have very sensitive cuticles and they bleed sometimes when I get my nails done. Once the manicurist made my fingers bleed - more than 3 fingers. And to stop the bleed she kept pressing a towel on the little cuts. I really cant assure that the materials - and especially the towel - were clean. Have I put myself at risk? The fact that she cut more than one finger elevates the risk? Do I need a test? This is killing me. I dont sleep anymore. I was always very careful about HIV and NEVER had sex without a condom, even when I was in a stable relationship. The fact that something so casual like a manicure could led me to this is killing me. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your confidence in our services.

You're worrying over nothing. I don't know what you found on the internet that made you think that having a manicure carries a risk for HIV. It does not. To my knowledge, there has never been a case of HIV transmitted by having a manicure, or even suspicion of it. Anyone (or any web site) that says otherwise doesn't know what s/he is talking about, or is deliberately lying. There is no risk even if the instruments or towels were not properly cleaned. You do not need HIV tesitng on account of this. (It's good to hear you have been sexually safe. Keep it up, and don't share drug injection needles with other persons, and you will never be at risk!)

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

Best wishes and stay safe--  HHH, MD

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44 months ago

Dear Dr Handsfield, thank you VERY much for your quick response. It means a lot.


I do have a couple of more questions.


1)      I have told you the worst situation that I have been on the manicure. But ,as I said, it was not the only event that I got cut since my cuticles are very sensitive. So having said that, your answer was more based on the unlikely probability that the person before me at this event was negative or do we have biological reasons also to why transmission is not possible? I say that because I´m scared that if i had bleed many times that would increase my risk of having non clean equipaments used by somebody unfortunally positive.


2)      It´s common to see manicures taking clippers or cuticle scissors out of little plastic bags – or something similar – between clients,  that of course we don´t know if it has been properly clean. These bags would preserve the virus from the enviroment?


Finally, you talked about where I saw these type of assumptions on the internet. It´s very bizarre. Because we can have very reliable sources saying “no risk” and the CDC site stating a risk – and they even unclude Dear, Dr Handsfield, thank you VERY much for your quick response. It means a lot.


I do have a couple of more questions.


1)      I have told you the worst situation that I have been on the manicure. But ,as I said, it was not the only event that I got cut since my cuticles are very sensitive. So having said that, your answer was more based on the unlikely probability that the person before me at this event was negative or do we have biological reasons also to why transmission is not possible? I say that because I´m scared that if i had bleed many times that would increase my risk of having non clean equipaments used by somebody unfortunally positive.


2)      It´s common to see manicures taking clippers or cuticle scissors out of little plastic bags – or something similar – between clientes,  that of course we don´t know if it has been properly clean. These bags would preserve the vírus from the enviroment?


Finally, you talked about where I saw these type of assumptions on the internet. It´s very bizarre. Because we can havevery  reliable sources saying “no risk” and the CDC site stating a risk – and they even unclude razors.


My panic started from the brazilian case that I put in here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25354026/


But there are also some articles talking about transmission by razors in Nigeria.


This is all very scaring. 



44 months ago
Sorry Dr, I have accidentally paste it the first part of the question in the end. Please scroll down. I m very sorry. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
I have read over all these questions. I'll just say you are seriously overthinking this situation. Nobody has ever acquired HIV in this situation, and I don't consider the case report you cite as being at all reliable. But even if it happened once, it is extraordinarily rare. If it virtually never happens, who cares about the biological reasons? As for CDC saying there is risk from such things like razor sharing, that's theoretical only with no actual proved cases. In any case, for such infection to happen, the immediate previous customer (or person sharing razors) would have to be HIV infected; have a high viral load; wet blood would have to be visible on the instrument (which means no cleaning and no time for the blood to dry); and you would have to sustain a rather significant injury with a visible cut. Simple contamination of inflamed cuticles etc would probably not be sufficient.  CDC and many other US governmental agencies tend to take hyper-conservative stances based on legal advice; they list many risks that have never actually proved true.

It's time for you to stop worrying about this sort of thing and move on. Have only safe sex and don't share drug injection equipment with anyone, and you'll never be at risk for HIV. Period.
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44 months ago
Thank you very much, Dr Handsfield. 
This is a very good forum 
Best wishes 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
You're welcome. Thanks for the thanks and the nice words about the forum. Best wishes and stay safe!---