Would it be possible to contract HIV if I used a shaving razor after someone else of an unknown HIV status, and ended up nicking my vulva (as it's a mucous membrane)? Would it be protected because it's superficial wound? I am mostly worried because I don't know how much time passed between the individual using it and me using it after they had, and if I am more at risk if the razor cut was on my vulva/genitals.
Please, please help to ease my anxieties. Thank you.
Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of acquiring HIV by using a razor on your genitals that may have 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 following information has been adapted from a previous response to a similar inquiry titled "HIV through sharing a razor?":
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). Any nicks or cuts acquired from the razor during shaving would not increase your risk because there would be no active virus on the razor.
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.
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Marie