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Hair salons and hiv transmission risks

May 21, 2001

Hi, About five years ago, I got my hair cut at a professional salon. During the haircut, my left top of my ear was cut. These clippers had been used on several customers prior to me. I am not trying to be stereotypical, but the last man was openly gay. I know this does not mean he had hiv, but I know he is then in a higher risk group. Well, within three days I noticed I had a lymph node swollen behind my neck on the right side. I don't remember it being tender. It lasted for more than a week, maybe two weeks. I have worried about it ever since. I called an aids hotline and was told that getting hiv from clippers was like the chances of getting hit with a meteor. He said the hiv probably wouldn't have lived but a few minutes if it was present. Well, this happened in 1996 and its now 2001 and two times, once in Janurary and once in Feburary, I got a sore throat with white spots or patches on my tonsils and back of my throat. This didn't last long but it is May now and I have had the same thing happen again. This time for 5 days now and I have a fever that ranges from 99 to 100.7 and sometimes almost to 102. My thoart started out just sore and now it has white places on it and a few on my throat. Do you think I am just a hypochrondriac? or Does this sound like oral thrush? I'm extremely worried. thank you

Response from Mr. Kull

Your symptoms do not sound consistent with someone who is HIV infected. You sound anxious about this experience you had several years ago, and that may be leading you to misinterpret symptoms that people commonly experience (cold/flu) as HIV related. It is important to have symptoms checked out by a doctor (especially if you continue to have a fever), and to have an HIV test if you are concerned about possibly being infected. Read "Razor Blade Cut in Salon" ( for more information.

Hypochondria is a form of anxiety that manifests in a person being consistently concerned about having an illness or disease--sometimes based on general and varying symptoms--despite contrary medical evidence. With HIV, a hypochondriac might continually worry about being HIV infected even after having repeatedly HIV-negative tests. If your level of worry about being HIV infected is disrupting your life, consider talking to a mental health professional about your concerns.


Anxiety or a real concern
having anal unprotected sex with positive partner

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