HIV and pedicure on holiday

Originally Posted: 
Monday, September 12, 2011
Tagged With: 
Question: 

I recently travelled to a country in Africa where there is a 1 in 10 incidence of HIV in adults. I had a 'pedicure' on the street which i thought would only involve painting nails but halfway through the guy whipped out a metal file (unwashed, and i know coz he used it 5 mins later on someone else without washing it) and scraped under my toe with it before i could stop him. i didnt see any cuts or abrasions/bleeding on examining my toe and i didnt see anything on the file (although i only got a brief glance) but im really worried i could have become infected with HIV. I know it sounds silly but im freaking out, can you tell me how likely it is an infection could be passed on this way?

Answer: 

Thank you for using AIDS Vancouver as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.
 
Having a pedicure, even with an unwashed metal file, poses no risk of HIV transmission. Even if there was a cut/abrasion/bleeding, the HIV virus cannot survive outside of the body for more than a few minutes. For HIV transmission to be possible, HIV+ fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, pre-cum, rectal secretions) need to come into direct contact with your blood stream. In addition, HIV transmission through open cuts is still a theory and we have only seen one case of transmission this way, and that was through a bloody knife fight where there were many open, profusely bleeding wounds and a knife involved. So no, there is no risk of HIV transmission through manicures or pedicures.
 
Hopefully you find the information helpful.
 
Take care,
 
Stephanie
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
Direct: 604-696-4666 (M-F 9am-4pm PST)
helpline@aidsvancouver.org
 


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