Anonymous
I am posting here because I have lost my peace of mind since last week and am facing contradictory opinions in various forums. Please help me out. So a few days ago I went for a shave in a nearby salon. I am from India, the salons here not very clean but this one was okay. Now every time I go for a shave I check if the barber if using news blades, I forgot that day. He started shaving and felt slight pain on my partially popped pimple. He then opened the drawer and brought out a new blade (He was using a straight razor). I asked him if he had been shaving me so far with an old blade. He said NO. But I am not convinced. After I went home I noticed that there was a red scratch around my neck and the partially popped pimples. There was no visible blood but still I felt sick to my stomach thinking about this. Now assuming the person who shaved before me was HIV+ and his infected blood came in contact with the blade with which I was later shaved I have the following questions -

1) I was given a shave approximately 40/50 seconds after the earlier guy. Does HIV survive for 1 minute in open air? I didn't notice if the earlier blade was in open air, kept in a jar of water (Which I think was not), or washed. In that case does HIV virus go away after a wash and does it survive if kept in a small jar of water.

2) There was no visible blood on my face except for some red scratches around my neck and partially popped pimples. The thing that I am worried about is the fact that may be the cut was so small that i didn't notice/see. I washed my face and re examined it after 1 hour but found to traces of blood/cut except for those red scratches I mentioned earlier. I am worried that may be the cut disappeared within this 1 hour because I thoroughly washed my face.

3) The next day I popped open my partially popped pimple to see if there was blood and found some puss and some red material, which looks like blood. Will this action of mine pose a problem?

Please help me out. I am student and have mane entrance exams in the next month. I am loosing sleep over this issue and can't study. I am constantly thinking that my life has been cut short due to my stupidity. I am in extreme mental anguish. Please answer my queries ASAP. Thank You.
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Anonymous
Hi there, and thanks a lot for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline for you HIV/AIDS related health information.


It sounds like you are concerned about your risk of HIV transmission after a barber possibility shaved you with a used blade.


Lets answer your questions!


If the blade was previously used, the situation that you have described is a Negligible Risk situation. This means that it could present a potential for HIV transmission because it can involve the exchange of body fluids. However, there has never been a confirmed report.



Question 1: "I was given a shave approximately 40/50 seconds after the earlier guy. Does HIV survive for 1 minute in open air? I didn't notice if the earlier blade was in open air, kept in a jar of water (Which I think was not), or washed. In that case does HIV virus go away after a wash and does it survive if kept in a small jar of water."

* HIV is a Human-to-Human virus. HIV needs a human host to survive. Once HIV is outside of the body and exposed to oxygen ( on a razor ) it can no longer transmit.




Question 2: "There was no visible blood on my face except for some red scratches around my neck and partially popped pimples. The thing that I am worried about is the fact that may be the cut was so small that i didn't notice/see. I washed my face and re examined it after 1 hour but found to traces of blood/cut except for those red scratches I mentioned earlier. I am worried that may be the cut disappeared within this 1 hour because I thoroughly washed my face.

* HIV needs direct access to the bloodstream in order to transmit. Superficial cuts, such as a popped pimple, simply do not provide the conditions necessary for direct access to the bloodstream. Your cut would have to be actively bleeding profusely and in need of surgery or stitches to repair to possibly provide direct access to the bloodstream.




Question 3: " The next day I popped open my partially popped pimple to see if there was blood and found some puss and some red material, which looks like blood. Will this action of mine pose a problem?"

* No, it will not. This does not increase your chances of getting HIV.



There is only one way to know your HIV status for sure. That is, to be tested. Here at AIDS Vancouver we encourage everyone to make HIV testing a part of their regular healthcare maintenance routine.


If you feel that getting an HIV test would give your some peace of mind, even after the information provided above, click on the links below to find a testing location near you:

  • HIV411 (Canada)


  • CDC.gov (USA)


  • AIDSMap (Outside of Canada & USA)





  • I would also encourage you to check out the following resources about HIV:

  • Smart Sex Resource


  • HIV Basics


  • Risk Assessment Chart




  • Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

    Hilary


    AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

    helpline.aidsvancouver.org
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