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HIV Transmission From a Nail File


Hello there.
I have recently went to a nail salon to had my nails done. During one of the procedures, I have noticed that the lady who was doing my nails, had scratched some of my fingers with the nails file and there have been couple of little cuts, with a bit of a blood. She put some disinfectant over them, however I am scared as I do not now if she has cleaned her equipment before she started doing my nails and I have read an article about this Brazilian woman, who got infected through a manicure tool. Am I at a risk of HIV infection?



Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking if there is a risk of acquiring HIV from receiving a manicure in a nail salon, during which the nail file cut your finger.

There has to be some form of blood-blood contact to make it a possibility for transmission. When examining the Brazilian case in detail, it would appear indeed that there is only one example of transmission when two people shared manicure equipment and in particular used cuticle scissors. [1,2] Furthermore, the study also mentioned it is very difficult to determine how she may acquired HIV as the incident occurred 10 years ago. [2] The CDC has stated in response to the situation that "HIV is not transmitted by casual contact, such as sharing eating utensils or drinking from the same water glass. This transmission of HIV by shared manicure equipment is a very rare event that should serve not to make people fear HIV or contact with HIV-infected people". [1, 3] To further ease stress, it may be of use to ask the manicure technician if they sterilize equipment after use.

Recommendation: Refer to a physician for health-related questions

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Dyson and Kane


  1. Angle C. Woman May Have Contracted HIV From Sharing Manicure Equipment [Internet]. IFLScience. 2018 [cited 27 August 2018]. Available from: https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/woman-may-have-contracted-hiv-sharing-manicure-equipment/

  2. Matsuda EM, Coelho LP, Pimentel VF, Onias HB, de Macedo Brigido LF. An HIV-1 transmission case possibly associated with manicure care. AIDS research and human retroviruses. 2014 Nov 1;30(11):1150-3.

  3. Liebert M. Can HIV be transmitted via manicure instruments? [Internet]. Medicalxpress.com. 2018 [cited 27 August 2018]. Available from: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-11-hiv-transmitted-manicure-instruments.html