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Possible transmission from hair removal
Jan 3, 2004

Hello dear doctor, you have to excuse my English it is not my first language. I have been asking this question in your web twice before but I do not get an answer, and I really need it because I am going crazy, blaming myself, I think I cannot stand it any longer. I tested positive two and half weeks ago. I have been living with my room mate for more than two years. She got tested this week and she knew she was positive too. We never had sexual intercourse, but we have been sharing one hair remover, its the kind of device that pulls out the hair of the skin it is called Epy lady or Silk epil. I was using it in my neck and I always bleeded, not a lot, just a bit, but I bleeded every time, although I never saw blood drops in the machine I really think it touched the blood. My room mate never used it inmediately after me, maybe 15 to 30 min. after me. I feel so blameful I could be the cause of infection.

Then I was sharing the same kind of machine with two other friends of mine during this last summer, I would like to know if I might have infected them too. How long can the virus live in that machine? Could I have infected more people through that?? One of the friends that lent me the machine this last summer took the machine back like 15 hours after I used it, I don't know if she or anybody in her family used it at that moment or even later, could the virus still be active? This is really making me going more than crazy, feeling sooooo guilty, feeling I'm the worse man in the world. Please, I know that you answer fast, tell me which are the possibilities.

Response from Dr. Pierone

Sorry to hear about you being diagnosed with HIV infection. I am not familiar with the exact workings of the device you describe. But based on the bleeding and potential for blood transmission from the point of contact from the machine it could be a possible mode of transmission. I would think that the risk of transmission would be highest from sharing within an hour, not after many hours when any blood had dried. In order to be safe you should ask the other people that shared the machine to be tested as well. The chance of transmission in their cases should be extremely low.

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