A 22-year-old woman has been diagnosed with HIV after getting her nails done with shared manicure equipment.
The Daily Mail reports that the woman did not have any of the usual risk factors associated with HIV, which (in most cases) is transmitted through having unprotected sex.
According to a report found in the AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses journal, this woman was actually diagnosed with an advanced form of HIV. Doctors reportedly claim that this case reveals a brand new type of transmission for HIV that was never even considered by most people in the past.
However, researchers warn that the risks of getting infected are relatively low since transmitting HIV through shared manicure equipment is considered a “very rare event.” Based on the report of this particular case, the 22-year-old woman admitted to having shared manicure equipment in the past with a cousin that was later diagnosed as HIV positive.
Based on a blood analysis, it has been suggested that this woman actually contracted the virus about 10 years ago. A genetic analysis of both patients suggested that the advanced HIV came from a mutual ancestor, confirming the possibility that the virus was transmitted through the shared manicure equipment.
According to Dr. Brian Foley of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, this rare case should not make people scared of coming in contact with HIV-positive people because of the risk of infection being so low.
“HIV is not transmitted by casual contact, such as sharing eating utensils, or drinking from the same water glass. 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.”
However, Dr. Foley did express the need for caution when it comes to sharing any type of item that might contain blood — especially if the item has not been disinfected properly.
“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 (HCV) and HIV. In addition, there are other common viruses and bacteria that can also be spread by sharing equipment without proper disinfection between users.”
HIV is transmitted between two people through the exchange of such bodily fluids as semen, vaginal, rectal fluids, breast milk, and blood.
Sharing any type of infected injecting equipment — such as needles — can spread HIV. In addition, an HIV-positive mother can share the virus with her child while pregnant, giving birth or even breastfeeding him or her.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services further reports that HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact, injection drug use, occupational exposure, blood transfusions, and organ transplants.