Could a one-time visit to the nail salon really change your life forever?
The worst thing that happened in a nail salon for most women is that they picked a polish color that they end up regretting or maybe they had their nails clipped a bit too close. But a manicure turned potentially deadly for a 22-year-old woman in Brazil: getting her nails done might have given her HIV.
The young woman, whose case is outlined in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, has recently been diagnosed with advanced HIV transmitted through manicure tools. But has failed to meet any of the normal transmission criteria. She has never had sex, blood transfusion or surgery, or piercing or tattooing.
After further study, medical professionals discovered that the woman had shared “manicure instruments with a cousin years before that who was later identified as HIV positive.” Blood tests also revealed that the woman was first infected with the virus around 10 years ago.
Reportedly, “further genetic analysis of both patients ‘ viruses indicated that it originated from a common ancestor, suggesting the likelihood of HIV being spread through the manicure tools
While most of us don’t share cuticle scissors with a friend infected with HIV, most girls— and a number of men — probably got a manicure at a nail salon, where tools were frequently reused.
According to Dr. Brian Foley of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s HIV Sequence Database, USA, the event should not make you afraid of contact with people with HIV because the risk of infection is very low.
Says: “By informal communication, such as exchanging foods or drinking from the same water glass, HIV is not transmitted. This transmission of HIV through shared manicuring equipment is a rare event, which should not lead to people being afraid of HIV or to contact people with HIV.
“However, the case may encourage caution in the sharing of items that may contain blood.
“People should be made aware that sharing any utensils with potential blood-blood contacts, such as needles used for medications, tattoos, or acupuncture, may result in the transmission of viruses such as hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV.” As medical experts suggest, this case is unusual. Nonetheless, it is still prudent to be extra cautious about using other people’s personal care products. And in your next manicure or pedicure session, there’s certainly no harm in double-checking with the nail technician if they’ve thoroughly cleaned/sterilized all equipment before using it on you.