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Nails trimmed, had a scratch. Risk of HIV ?

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Practicing since : 1996
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I recently had my nails done. I am freaking out because I have a tiny tiny scratch ( I am not even sure it broke my skin as in bleeding) from the drill used to file nails. Can I catch HIV? The place seemed empty before I walked in so I know it had not been in use for a while. It would say the drill was not in use for at least 20 minutes (maybe longer). Any thoughts? Or am i just paranoid? The drill does create friction and heat... I once heard bacterial and viruses have a hard time with friction because it destroys their structure. Have you heard of any case?
Posted Thu, 12 Apr 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Bharat Chawda 3 hours later

Thank you for posting the query.

I can fully understand your concern here.

But I should assure you that there is no chance that you can get a HIV disease following this, since there was no breach in the skin. To catch a infection, the probe of the machine has to be infected with the virus, that too if there is a blood contamination. I have not heard of a HIV following a nail procedure done.

There is also a very bleak chance of any bacterial, fungal or a viral infection here either.

The only thing which one should be worried about in such procedures is of fungal infection, which is pretty common in saloons. If these instruments are not properly sterilized then any fungal infection can penetrate your nail. Kindly look for any yellowish discoloration underneath the nail for infection, but it may take longer time to manifest if only the probe is infected.

The only advise I can give you at this moment is to wash your hand with soap and water and keep the nail clean by using a disinfectant.

Hope I've answered your query. Should you have additional concern regarding the same, I would be happy to address it.

Dr.Bharat chawda
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Nails trimmed, had a scratch. Risk of HIV ? 6 hours later
How about if it breached my skin? under my nail she drilled really good and it hurt. I could not tell if she broke the skin under my nail??? I am a little OCD with this and it was my first time getting my nails done. I have heard HIV dies within minutes. So if she did break another contaminated person skin would the virus have died in time? When I arrived at the salon it was empty. My guess is the drill was not in use for a minimum 15-20 minutes.
Answered by Dr. Bharat Chawda 5 hours later

Thank you for writing back,

Please always remember that while it is best to take all precautions, HIV is not very infectious and does not get transmitted by casual contact.

Also the virus does not survive for long outside the body especially if the temperature is not maintained. Exactly how long HIV virus survives outside the body depends on a lot of factors such as temperature, presence of fluids/moisture etc. In a dry environment/surface the virus does not survive for more than 15 minutes.

So even if there was a breach in the skin, the chance of transmission becomes very bleak, since the virus might not be viable in a dried state. I don't think you should worry at all.

I can understand your health concern, but there is a very little or no chance that the instrument was infected with a viable virus.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you found my response to be helpful and informative. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.

Dr.Bharat chawda
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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