Rare HIV Case Highlights Importance of Sterilisation

A 22-year-old woman has  contracted HIV after using shared manicure equipment. Doctors are emphasising the need to ensure all nail equipment is thoroughly sterilised.

It’s the kind of story that sends shock waves through the beauty industry.

A 22-year-old woman has been reported to have contracted HIV after having her nails done. It’s alleged that the same, unsterilised nail equipment was used on both the woman and her cousin, who had been a long-term sufferer of HIV.

Doctors say the case, which has now been detailed in the journal of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, has revealed a new form of transmission for the virus.

Although researchers have labelled it a ‘very rare event’, doctors are reminding salons to ensure all nail equipment is thoroughly sterilised before coming into contact with each client.

According to the journal report, when tested and diagnosed, the woman failed to demonstrate any of the usual risk factors for acquiring the virus, which is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sex, but can also be passed on through breastfeeding and sharing infected needles.

researchers stated the woman had shared manicure equipment when having her nails done with her cousin

However, researchers stated the woman had shared manicure equipment when having her nails done with her cousin at a prior date to being diagnosed, which was confirmed to align with initial contraction of the virus in blood tests.

Additional genetic analysis also indicated  the virus had come from a common ancestor, indicating it may have been passed on during the nail treatment with the woman’s HIV positive relative.

In an article in Daily Mail, Los Alamos National Laboratory HIV Sequence Database spokesperson Dr. Brian Foley  said the case should not be a cause for people to develop anxiety around nail treatments.

‘This transmission of HIV by shared manicure equipment is a very rare event that should serve not to make people fear HIV or contact with HIV-infected people…It should make people aware that sharing any utensils with possible blood-blood contact, such as needles used for drugs, tattoos, or acupuncture can result in transmission of viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV.”

Have your say: Do you think there needs to be greater legislation and policing of nail hygiene standards in salons?

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