Anonymous
I was at a barbers shop for a shave and haircut and noticed i was bleeding from one of my bumps beneath my jaw. When i asked if the hair clipper had been sterilized the barber said no because he had run out of the alcohol spray. This was a very busy day for the barber and there lots of people who had been shaved and had a haircut before me. This happened in Nigeria. Please do i need to commence PEP? Thank you for your help.
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Anonymous
Hi there and thank you for reaching out to AIDS Vancouver with your questions. We're happy to help!

The situation that you have described above is considered a no risk situation for a few reasons.

1. HIV is a very delicate virus. Once exposed to oxygen in the air, the virus becomes damaged and is no longer able to transmit. This means that any bodily fluid present on the barber's equipment would have already been exposed to the air, and thus is not able to transmit the virus.

2. In order for there to be a risk of HIV transmission, the virus requires direct access to the bloodstream. For a cut or open sore to provide said access, the cut needs to be gushing blood and require immediate and professional medical attention. Since your cut does not match this description, it does not provide direct access to the bloodstream and is thus not able to transmit the virus.

Here is a copy of the AIDS Vancouver transmission equation in order to help further your understanding:

HIV TRANSMISSION EQUATION


BODY FLUID
+
ACTIVITY
+
DIRECT ACCESS TO BLOODSTREAM
---------- -------- ----------------------------
• blood (including menstrual) • unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse • vagina
• semen • sharing needles • anus
• pre-cum • mother to child (in specific cases) • urethra in the penis
• rectal secretions • open cuts and sores (in theory)
• vaginal fluids • other mucosal membranes
• breast milk • points of needle injection
In order for there to be a risk of HIV transmission, all three factors (body fluid, activity, direct access to the bloodstream) must be present. Because this is a no risk situation, P.E.P. is not required.

I hope I was able to answer your question and feel free to contact us with any further concerns.

Regards,

Sierra, Helpline Volunteer

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

helpline.aidsvancouver.org
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