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very worried mum, please help me
Feb 23, 2002

Dear Dr Bob

I know that my question doesn't belong in this forum, but nobody has answered my question anywhere else.

My son had a haircut with electric clippers and got nicked at the neck. The hairdresser did not sterilise the clippers for at least (that I saw) 3 people before him.

The haircut was on a Saturday, on the following Monday (2 days later) my son woke up with a large swollen gland in the groin and a smaller one in the neck.

The Doctor checked him for any local infection in the leg and saw none. He had no fever and just some pain in his arm and stomach area.

Since then I have worried myself sick thinking that the nick on his neck had allowed the HIV virus to enter his bloodstream and the glands were the symptoms of ARS.

Can you please explain if this is possible (is 2 days after infection too early for ARS). and is the situation I describe a risk of contracting HIV.

Please help me!!!!

Worried Mum...

P.s my son is half Italian.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Worried Mum of a half-Italian son!

Do barbers (or fancy hair stylists, for that matter) ever sterilize their clippers? I've never seen a beauty shop with an autoclave (medical instrument sterilizer). In order for your son to be at any risk at all, the clumsy barber would have to have bloody clippers from significantly injuring the poor chap who preceded your son in the chair. And that chap would have to be HIV-positive. So unless you've been taking your son to "Sweeny Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street," you really have absolutely nothing to worry about! Swollen glands are extremely common and not at all specific to HIV! Relax Mum! All is well, including your son.

Dr. Bob


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