Woman Gets HIV After Manicure at Nail Salon

woman getting manicure at nail salonConcerned about getting a cold this winter? Fearful of the flu? Well, headlines abound today about another health threat that sounds, at least at first glimpse, like it's worth thoroughly freaking out over. A woman in Brazil was reportedly diagnosed with advanced HIV after using shared manicure equipment at a nail salon. Horrifying.


Researchers investigated what had happened and concluded in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses that it wasn't unprotected sex or shared needles (the typical culprits behind transmission) that led to her infection.

Instead, the 22-year-old woman, who is a manicurist herself, discovered she was HIV-positive after getting tested to donate blood.

According to further analysis, she contracted the virus about 11 years ago. As it turns out, the woman had been sharing nail tools with her HIV-positive cousin who also worked at the salon. The researchers don't know if the women had blood-to-blood contact through the manicure tools.

As frightening as this sounds, the doctors who diagnosed her emphasize that contracting HIV through manicures is a "very rare event." In other words, this isn't a new form of transmission.

The official ways you can get HIV: Blood-to-blood contact (like needles for drugs, tattoos, acupuncture, etc.) or bodily fluids -- such as blood, semen, and vaginal or rectal fluids -- that come into contact with someone else's mucous membrane, damaged tissue, or the bloodstream. Babies can also get HIV at birth from their mothers. Kissing is a possibility, but ONLY if both people have open mouth sores.

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Biting, spitting, throwing body fluids, or sharing sex toys pose a "negligible" risk of infection, according to the CDC.

Meanwhile, experts stress that casual contact -- like sharing eating utensils or drinking from the same glass -- is not a form of transmission.

All that said, for those of us who have even the occasional mani-pedi, this news is unnerving. We tend to think the worst thing you could contract at a nail salon is toe fungus. Not HIV!

Still, it seems safe to say we can rest assured that for this to happen again would be VERY unlikely. But it is definitely a reminder to keep an eye out for safe, sanitary practices every time you hit up the nail salon.

Does this news worry you?

Image via iStock.com/Thomas_EyeDesign

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