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HIV through sharing a razor?

Question: 

Hi,

I'm really anxious. About 10 years or so ago, my brother used my razor without telling me. I then proceeded to use the razor in the shower. I don't know if there was any blood on the razor, but I did cut/nick myself and had some sores from shaving. I don't know how much time passed between him and me using the razor, either, but I've been so anxious about it ever since. It doesn't help that there are conflicting reports on websites, from articles and doctors alike, whether sharing razors can transmit HIV.

If his blood had been on the razor and I then nicked myself (I was using it to shave my genitals, to make matters worse), would it be possible to contract HIV?

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of acquiring HIV through using a razor that had been used previously by someone else. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the Transmission Equation. In order for HIV to be transmitted, the virus must be present in a bodily fluid that has direct access to your bloodstream during a risky activity. Even if the razor previously came into contact with blood that had HIV in it, the HIV would quickly be rendered inactive due to exposure to oxygen (1).

It is important to note that there has been one reported case of HIV transmission, potentially due to the sharing of a razor, between two brothers with hemophilia (a blood disorder in which greater than normal bleeding occurs because the blood does not clot) (2). It is not clear what the actual cause of transmission was, but it has been suggested that the sharing of injecting equipment to treat their hemophilia may be the culprit rather than the sharing of a razor (3).

Recommendation: No need for an HIV test with the scenario provided, refer to a physician for other health related questions.

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Marie