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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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Anonymous
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Risk of HIV infection from nail salon?
      #170344 - 01/18/06 10:59 PM

Hi,

I've frequented the same nail salon from summer of 2002 until winter of 2005. It's somewhat clean, with the pedicure tubs being washed after each use, but they don't regularly sterilize the clippers or electrical buffer/filer cylinders after each use, nor do they dispose of the emery boards after each client (until they're used almost completely). Once in a while (more towards the beginning) I'd bleed a tiny bit, most likely from the electric buffer/filer. A couple of times the manicurist put on a gel-like antiseptic(?) to stop the bleeding and I assume, prevent infection.

My questions are:

1) Could the HIV virus survive in the applicator of the antiseptic tube and infect me? I know HIV can't live outside the body for a long time, but would the small air exposure and antiseptic agents be enough to get rid of it? Granted, the applicator tube is much wider than that of a syringe needle.

2) Sometimes I would get nicked by the electric filer/buffer on a small scab or cut, sometimes causing it to open. I'm pretty sure any blood that could have been on it was dried.

3) Would soaking my fingers in acetone with small, open cuts put me at risk if someone else with open cuts had also soaked before me? Or would the air exposure and acetone kill the virus if it was present?

4) I was getting my eyebrows done and one was pulled and I bled a tiny bit. Any risk of infection from the tweezers? I know they weren't used for at least an hour.

5) Could the scraping tool used for toes during pedicures infect me if it is wiped and in open air? I bled once during a scraping.

I've never heard of any problems coming from this salon (my aunt has been going there longer than I have). Some infrequent irritation from the acrylic gel has been my only problem, but I'm going to be tested soon and I just want to be sure. I haven't had a blood test since before I started getting my nails done and even then they were just looking for lupus. Either way, I'm not planning on getting acrylics anymore.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.


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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Risk of HIV infection from nail salon? new
      #170347 - 01/18/06 11:19 PM

Nothing you descibe is any risk at all and if you are getting tested for HIV based on this, then you are wasting your time and that of the medical profession. You really should take some time to educate yourself on this issue since you are clearly the sort of person who worries a lot.

Do you walk around with a crash helmet on all day just in case someone drops a piano on your head? That would be a more likely event that you catching HIV in the ways you describe.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Risk of HIV infection from nail salon? new
      #170350 - 01/18/06 11:48 PM

Of course I'm not just going because of these concerns. It's just that there have been articles saying that HIV and other STDs & STIs could possibly be transmitted this way.

I've also had strep throat in November, then bronchitis about a month later, and 3 instances of oral herpes (although I had cases of oral herpes since way before I was at any risk). I had an extremely sore throat and swollen glands at Christmas; my throat is still a bit sore and my glands are a little swollen. My boyfriend, who has been with about 5 women before me and used to inject heroin with new syringes, tested negative in March 2005 (our relationship started in June) and comes from a family of doctors. His mother is taking us both to be tested at the hospital where she works and his grandmother also gave me a form for a complete physical. Both aren't very worried.

I am normally a very rational person, but please realize that stress makes people paranoid and I just want to cover my bases. I also take into account that by nature I have a weak immune system and my stressing about this doen't make me any stronger and can cause these "symptoms".

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Risk of HIV infection from nail salon? new
      #170352 - 01/19/06 12:46 AM

OK. But I can only comment on what you post. And what you posted was no risk.

I would be fascinated to see the article that said you can get an STD from having your eyebrows tweezered by the way! :-) Sorry, but I have yet to read (and I have read alot) anything that would suggest that any of your nail salon worries are real possibilities.

Your symptoms are irrelevant.

Your boyfriend's test in March is irrelevant too unless you are sure that this was at least 13 weeks from his last potential exposure and he has had no more potential exposures since then. Only you can know if you can trust what your boyfriend tells you or not.

Overall, your boyfriend's mother and grandmother are almost certainly right. But I would not want to criticise you both getting tested at this stage. It's a responsible thing to do if you plan to have unprotected sex in a secure relationship.

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Anonymous
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Re: Risk of HIV infection from nail salon? new
      #170356 - 01/19/06 01:32 AM

Yes, even I know that the tweezer thing is totally far-fetched. It's crossed my mind more than once that it could be a case of the media blowing things out of proportion. Overall my doctor was more concerned about hepatitis than HIV. I can provide you with a couple of links for the stories, if you'd like to look over them.

According to my boyfriend, he had been with two women between January and June (I don't know exactly when), but had not had vaginal or anal intercourse with either. Giving and receiving oral only.

All I've ever done with him is oral (both giving and receiving), swallowing max. 3 times and spitting max. twice. Even though there's still been oral-genital contact, I haven't allowed him to ejaculate in my mouth in months. He also once spurted some semen into my eye. All this is relatively low-risk, I'm sure you'll agree. Non-existant if he's still negative. His grandmother showed me the March results, so I know he wasn't lying about that.

He is my first serious relationship, so unless the nail salon did it ;) , there is no chance of me being infected prior to getting together with him.

Also, I've read that the use of corticosteroids can somehow affect the test results. Supposedly, they suppress the immune system in order to treat inflammation (rash). I've been using a prescribed hydrocortisone cream for a rash on my cheeks (hence the lupus test) for years. Any thoughts? I'm thinking of asking my dermatologist about it.



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Risk of HIV infection from nail salon? new
      #170357 - 01/19/06 01:54 AM

Thanks for the follow up. But you keep adding details....

Let's sum up the risks shall we:

Unprotected vaginal or anal sex - a real risk.
Protected vaginal or anal sex using a latex condom that does not break - no risk.
Giving a man unprotected oral sex - a very small risk. There is some dispute about how small, but the current evidence seems to suggest almost nil.
Protected oral sex - nil risk.
Being given oral sex - nil risk. Saliva does not contain infectious HIV.
Sharing needles for injecting drugs - a real risk.

For HIV transmission to take place an infected fluid has to get directly into the bloodstream via an open wound or a mucous membrane. Being exposed to the air causes HIV to deteriorate - it does not suvive well out of the body. Also, it cannot pass through intact skin.

Personally, I think that you are a little over-worried about the potential to become infected with anything as far as the nail salon episode is concerned. But hey, it is no bad thing to be vaccinated against Hep B if you are not already.

I'm not a social worker and perhaps it is not my place. But I get the feeling that you and your boyfriend are quite young and relatively inexperienced in long term relationships. Are you totally sure that you can trust your boyfriend to be loyal to you? Sorry if that comes across as rude or insensitive, but I think you need to consider it. If you are not, why not stick to protected sex when you start your relationship and move on as the trust builds? Just a thought....

Finally, I am sure that I have seen Dr Bob answer a number of questions like your one on the cream with a definitive "no".

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Risk of HIV infection from nail salon? new
      #170361 - 01/19/06 02:35 AM

Thanks for all your help. You're totally entitled to your opinion. I can't deny that early on I felt the same.

We're both 20. I went to an all-girl's high school and pretty much concentrate on my studies, plus I don't really trust people outside of my circle of family & friends. Believe me though, I've seen what some of my friends and relatives have dealt with in their relationships and I'm definitely not naive.

As for my boyfriend, he's a really good guy that I've known since the third grade. Though he comes from a very wealthy and prestigious medical family, he hasn't been without his problems. He has kicked his drug and alcohol habits (he stil knocks back a few beers on occasion). Everyone pretty much thinks it's destined to be. I'm quite sure he's been loyal so far, as we've rarely been apart for the past 7 months. With him going back to school soon, I'm apprehensive. He's usually always around me or his family. Of course I'll keep my eyes open and my mind clear, and the second there is even the slightest suspicion of any bad habits (cheating, relapse, etc.), I'm gone.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Risk of HIV infection from nail salon? new
      #170476 - 01/19/06 08:06 PM

Wow. You sound both really bright and really sensible for someone who is 20. If I wasn't (a) married (and still in love, I hasten to add) and (b) twice your age, I would probably try to hit on you now!

Anyway, you've got the facts and you've considered all the angles. Based on what you have said, I cannot see HIV being a problem for you so long as you always keep those facts in mind.

I think you are done here. Have a great life!

PS: One last word of advice from an old, married guy who has made a lot of mistakes in the past....it does not matter what other people think is destined to be. What matters is love, pure and simple. Follow your heart, not the crowd. God bless.

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