Anonymous
Hi!
My hairdresser cut one of my ears while she was cutting my hair. I don't think it is a deep wound, but it was bleeding. Is there any chance, that if an HIV positive client was also cut, and his / her blood was on the clipper, it could have infected me? I realise that the risk is very low, yet I'm a very paranoid person, and tend to worry about things having a very remote probability.

Thanks in advance!
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helpline-volunteer

Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the possibility of HIV transmission through getting your ear cut by hair clippers. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

Even if there had been blood from an HIV positive individual on the hair clippers, the clippers would not contain any active HIV particles because exposure of the virus to oxygen quickly deactivates it. The CDC has shown that "HIV does not survive long outside the body (such on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside of the human host" (1). When HIV is exposed to oxygen, it undergoes a rapid decrease in concentration (90-99% within a couple of hours), so the risk of environmental transmission of HIV is essentially zero (1). 

Although you had a small bleeding wound, even in the event that the clippers did come in contact with bodily fluid from an HIV positive individual, the exposure to oxygen, as mentioned above, means there is No Risk of transmission from this activity.  Therefore, this scenario does not meet the three components of the HIV Transmission Equation (see down below).

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

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Sonali 

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1. HIV in the environment  

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