[Question #2651] Razors and Pubic Shaving

44 months ago
Dr. Hook,

First off just wanted to say thanks for this site. I actually found an answer to my question in one of your previous answers (#1104), which had a very similar situation to my own, about the risk of HIV and Hep B and Hep C from sharing razors in a household. I too was living with my parents and my foreign girlfriend for 2-3 months, who like that poster I am worried may have HIV or Hep or some other STD, and passed onto my family through shared razors. I am no longer with my girlfriend so cannot have her tested.

You mentioned in your answer the overall risk was very low over such a 3 month period, in your view it would be overall less than <1% even if razors were shared regularly and my girlfriend had Hep B or C or HIV. So this already answered my question, but the other day in the newspaper I read about a study covering the high frequency of injuries when shaving pubic regions, and so wanted to ask if your previous assessment of overall <1% risk held if shared razors were being used by people to shave their (own) pubic areas? 

This was the article, it was only just published:  http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/2648859

Many kind thanks, Dr


44 months ago
And also sorry we are in Europe not the US, so none of us have ever been vaccinated for Hepatitis B

Many kind thanks, Dr
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
Thanks for reviewing previous questions like yours.Thanks also for the link to the JAMA Dermatology study.

As you probably realize, the recent study does not address transmission of blood borne transmission by shaving, pubic or otherwise. It only reports that lots of people scrape or scratch their genital areas during pubic area shaving. The abstract reports no comparison with injury rates during facial shaving. All in all, I see nothing in this report that raises alarms about transmission of blood borne infections like HIV, HBV, or HCV through shared razors, regardless of what body areas are shaved. The standard advice still stands:  people should not share razors. But if they do, the risk of blood borne virus transmission probably remains extremely low. We we have said previously on this forum, Dr. Hook and I are unaware of any proved case of transmission actually occurring -- so if it happens, it is extremely rare. Transmission would require an obvious bleeding wound by the infected person, then immediate use of the same razor, while still showing wet blood, and the second person then cutting him/herself.

Bottom line:  Don't share razors with other persons (purchase and use your own razors exclusively); especially don't share with roommates or others who you believe might have HIV or other blood borne infections; but don't worry (and don't get tested) if there is the occasional lapse and a shared razor is used.

I hope that helps. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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