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shaving my legs
Sep 17, 1996

A while back I let someone use my razor to shave her legs. About 20 minutes later I used the same razor to shave my legs. I did not notice any blood but I rinsed the razor well with steaming hot water. Later I noticed I cut my hand with the razor. Am I being paronoid or could the Aids virus been on the razor?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Your risks of infection would actually be quite small. In order for you to become infected with HIV, you would have to be exposed to her blood, and her blood would have to get directly into your bloodstream in order to infect you. There are two things that occured that would have lowered your risk (assuming that she was even infected).

First of all, you stated that you "rinsed the razor well with steaming hot water". This would mean that if there were any blood present, you would have washed that blood away (and any possible HIV virus with it). The hot water would also help in killing HIV.

Secondly, the HIV virus will only survive outside the human body for several minutes. Since you used the razor about 20 minutes later, the virus would have had the chance to die before you ever used that razor.

So between the rinsing of the razor, and the time between use, your chances of infection are actually quite small. When we're talking about risks related with razors (and toothbrushes for that matter), there would only be a risk if there were blood present, and that it was shared between 2 people within minutes of one another, and the blood from one person would have to get into the bloodstream of the other. Since it's normal practice to rinse razors and toothbrushes between use, this would lower the risk of infection. But to be on the safe side for this and other bloodborne diseases, as a general rule, try to avoid sharing razors and toothbrushes in the future.

If you have further questions, please e-mail me at "nvhotline@aol.com" or call me at 1-800-842-AIDS.



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