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Shaving blind that my HIV positive friend used

Question: 

On morning, I used my friend's used shaving stick for my armpits, there were no visible blood on the blade and I didn't cut my self because I didn't feel like I did. Few weeks later I got to know she's positive and have been on drugs since 2018, my mind went back to that shaving scenario and I test for HIV 1&2 negative, 47 days later I did the p24+ antibody test for HIV 1&2 and it was nonreactive, spoken with some doctors and they said I have less than 1% of being infected this way.

I have been very worried and read that the virus dies once it comes in contact with air. Please help

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of HIV transmission after you used your friend's razor to shave and later found out that they are living with HIV. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be Negligible Risk (There are no evidence or no documented cases of transmission. However, there is a theoretical possibility).

One this forum we focus on the activity in which the individual(s) were involved, and not their HIV status. This is because, focusing on the activity allows us to apply the 3 components of the HIV transmission equation to said activity and thereby provide you with a reliable risk assessment.

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(1) 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).

The information that you received from your doctor about HIV being unable to transit to your after coming into contact with air is correct! HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces like a razor), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2). Any bodily fluids containing HIV that may have been on the razor, were already outside of the human body, exposed to environmental conditions(air) and thus, unable to transmit HIV to you.

HIV requires that all 3 conditions of the HIV transmission equation(1), as listed above, be met in order for transmission to occur. Your scenario does not satisfy these 3 conditions. HIV is transmitted from human-to-human, and not human-to-object-to-human. HIV needs direct access to the bloodstream to transmit to you. You say in your scenario that you did not cut your skin while shaving, therefore there was no direct access for HIV to enter your bloodstream.

From the information you have provided above, we believe that the 2nd test that you took was the 4th Generation Duo Test. This blood test that looks for antibodies AND P24 protein antigens. It is commonly referred to as the "combination," "Combo" or "DUO" test. Antigen (ag) test- P24 is detectable immediately after infection, & only for the first few weeks. The antibody (ab) test has a window period of 4-12 weeks. Most HIV specialists consider this "DUO" test conclusive at 6 weeks. You say that this test administered 47 days, or approximately 6.5 weeks, after the scenario occurred. This means that the nonreactive results that you received are considered conclusive, and have an accuracy of 99.9%. Even though most HIV specialists consider this test conclusive at 6 weeks, however, official HIV testing guidelines still recommend re-testing at 12 weeks for completely conclusive results. This is something that you can discuss with your doctor if you feel you would like to retest at 12 weeks for completely conclusive results.

Thanks again for you question. We would encourage you to check out the resources listed below to learn more about HIV and HIV transmission.

Recommendation: Consider 12 week HIV test for completely conclusive results, refer to your health care provider for this and for other health related questions.

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Hilary