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Can HIV infection be transmitted through cut caused by re-used razor blades?

Answered by
Dr. Vaishalee Punj

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 2216 Questions

Posted on Mon, 20 Jan 2014 in HIV and AIDS
Question: Hi, I have a very small question, which i came across while speaking with some of my friends. Please suggest if an person can get HIV infection, while having a hair cut in a saloon, in case if the barber doesn't clean the instrument he uses to shave the hair or if he doesn't change the razor?
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 4 hours later
Brief Answer: Hi Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for posting your query on XXXXXXX Regardig your question about barber reusing infected material, I would like to say that HIV gets transmitted when HIV contaminated instrument comes in contact with non-intact or broken skin. HIV infected persons despite being asymptomatic at initial stages are still infective. I went through the research and articles published in medical journals on this topic and found many researches that indicate the transmission of viruses through barbering procedures. Razor blades if re-used can transmit infection. Other instruments like scissors etc should also be disinfected before re-using though they have lesser chances of cutting the skin and transmitting the infection. Thus razor blades should not be reused under any circumstances. Other instruments should be disinfected atleast upto intermediate level disinfection before reusing. The agents that can be used are alcohol, sodium hypochlorite, dry heat etc. Hope it answers your query. Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Vaishalee Punj 15 hours later
Thanks Doctor for briefing me on the concern put forth by me. As follow up on the discussion, I had come across some articles wherein it was conveyed that HIV carrying agents(don't know exactly what term should i use, may be say bacteria) can survive out of the host body for very few seconds; the reason i am asking is its piratically not possible to disinfect the apparatus used by the barber though he may agree to change the razor blade. But in any case the apparatus in which the razor blade is put in may still have traces of infected blood.
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 54 minutes later
Brief Answer: Hi again Detailed Answer: Hi again, Yes, you are correct in most of your follow-up. This revolution to change the razor blades after every use was started for this same fear. The barbers usually ignore cleanliless, let alone disinfection. Thus a better alternative is to instruct the barber not to use razor at all for hair-cuts. For shaving you may carry your own instruments. Hope it helps. Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

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