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Nail Clipper Blood Incident

Question: 

Hi,

Very helpful helpline here. I had very stressing incident. I was with my private guitar tutor at a music academy. My nails were too long he said so he took me upstairs to the manager's office (not his) and opened his cabinet to get nail clippers that he uses for people who has long nails for guitar playing.

He said he needed to cut his nails too so he did it first. Then as I was cutting my nails, he was like "fuck I think I accidentally nick myself a bit" and started sucking on his finger. And I was like "oh" didn't think much of it. Then, when I got to my index finger I accidentally nicked the soft part under my nails I think it's called hyponychium.

I didn't notice substantial blood on me or the nail clippers. Just tiny blood nicks. I tend to cut my nails short as the hyponychium doesn't hurt for me :(

I am Korean and this was in Seoul, Korea. He said that he has a girlfriend but he does look very "loose" and maybe cheats on his gf idk.

Thank you

Answer: 

Hello, Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about your risk of acquiring HIV after you used someone else's nail clippers immediately after they had used them, nicked your finger and put the finger in your mouth. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

It is important to note that when assessing the risk of HIV transmission, speculating on the HIV status of another individual or the frequency of their sexual activity does not provide useful information for the assessment. This is why we focus on the activity in which you were involved, and not the demographics of the individuals involved. In your scenario the activity was a using nail clippers that others have used, nicking the skin on your finger and putting that finger in your mouth.

The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation(1). It does not satisfy the equation because:

  • For transmission to occur the three components of the HIV Transmission Equation must be met: there must be HIV present in a bodily fluid (ie: in blood, semen or rectal secretions), direct access to the bloodstream (ie: inside of the vagina, anus and other mucous membranes) paired with a high risk activity (ie: unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, sharing needles, mother to child)(1).

  • HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2).

  • There must be an exchange in bodily fluids.

  • Saliva contains enzymes that inhibit the transmission of HIV(3).

  • Superficial wounds, meaning wounds similar to a paper cut, are not deep enough to provide direct access to the bloodstream.

In the scenario you described, you cut your nails with another person's nail clippers immediately after they had used them, accidentally nicked your finger and then put that finger in your mouth. This scenario has been assessed to be No Risk for acquiring HIV. As we learned above, HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces like nail clippers), and it cannot reproduce outside of a human host(2). This means that any bodily fluids on the nail clippers when you used them, were outside of the human body, exposed to external environmental conditions, unable to reproduce and thus, unable to transmit HIV to you. Saliva contains enzymes that inhibit the transmission of HIV(3), this is why putting your finger in your mouth is assessed as No Risk. The nick on your finger that you described we can classify as a "superficial wound or cut". These are wounds, like that of a paper cut, which are not deep enough to provide direct access for HIV to enter your bloodstream. There was also no exchange of bodily fluids in this scenario as well as no high risk activity.

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided, refer to the resources we have linked below to learn more about HIV and HIV transmission. Refer to your healthcare professional for other health related questions.

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Hilary