You may have heard that you can get HIV from salon, cosmetology, nail, or barber services. But is this actually true? Can you really contract HIV from getting your hair done or getting a pedicure? In this blog post, we will explore the possibility of contracting HIV from these services and answer the question once and for all: can you get HIV from salon, cosmetology, nail, or barber services?
Today, we are going to answer those questions and talk about how to keep yourself safe in and out of the salon.
More than anything, I hope this article calms any anxiety you have and educates you about HIV. There is so much stigma surrounding this virus, and education is how we can fight misinformation and outdated ideas.
Here is the question you might want to be answered first…
Has anyone got HIV from a nail salon, barbershop, or cosmetology service?
The answer is: maybe. In theory, it is possible to contract HIV from salon, cosmetology, nail, or barber services.
You likely have seen this headline:
“Women Gets HIV from Nail Salon Manicure”
I’ve seen it too. But I also have read this Snopes article and now know the whole story. It wasn’t at a salon. They believe the woman got HIV from sharing manicure equipment with an HIV-positive cousin she was living with (who actually was a manicurist).
This is the only case of someone contracting HIV from salon, cosmetology, nail, or barber services that we really know about.
So, while it is possible to contract HIV from salon, cosmetology, nail, or barber services- rest assured -it is very (actually, extremely!) rare.
Just think of the thousands of hair, nail and skincare services that are going on just in the United States today. It is astounding! And this is the only “salon case” we know about. Ever.
Many barbers, cosmetologists, nail techs, and skincare specialists have training in HIV prevention and transmission.
Florida barbers and restricted barbers must take a 2-hour HIV course for Florida Barbers to get and renew their Florida barber license every two years. For the few barbers that do still shave customers, disposable razor blades and strong sanitation/sterilization procedures make HIV transmission via these services very, very difficult. HIV is actually a pretty weak virus outside the body.
Florida cosmetologists, facial, nail, and full specialists also must complete a 4-hour HIV course to get licensed and then 1 hour of HIV each renewal (which is often included in a 10-hour Florida cosmetology continuing education renewal package). Nail implements also must be disposible or be properly sterilized.
Since we have talked about the unlikely event of transmission from personal care services, let’s talk about some of the ways HIV is most commonly transmitted.
What is HIV and how is it transmitted?
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. It can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen, or other bodily fluids. It can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
There are several ways in which you can contract HIV:
• Sexual contact: This includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex. HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person, even if there are no symptoms present.
• Blood transfusions: If you receive a blood transfusion from someone who is infected with HIV, you can contract the virus.
• Sharing needles: If you share needles with someone who is infected with HIV, you can contract the virus. This is a common method of transmission among intravenous drug users.
• Mother-to-child: If an infected mother has unprotected sex or shares needles with her partner, she can transmit HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
While it is possible to contract HIV from any of these activities, it is important to remember that there are ways to prevent its spread. Use condoms during sexual activity, practice safe needle sharing if you are an intravenous drug user, and get tested for HIV regularly. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent transmission to your child.
Tips for choosing a salon that is safe and clean
The best way to protect yourself from contracting HIV or any other disease is to make sure that the salon you go to is clean and sanitary and that the technicians are following proper procedures.
There are dirty salons out there that do not follow sanitation protocols. I have been at the board meetings to hear about them. While you are not likely to get HIV from these locations, you should still use caution.
Remember, HIV is not the only communicable disease out there! There are many other diseases that you can contract from salon, cosmetology, nail, or barber services. Other communicable or bloodborne diseases include Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Then there are also fungal and bacterial infections.
If you have any cuts or open wounds, you should not get salon, cosmetology, nail, or barber service. You may actually be turned down for service if you have any open wounds that may interfere with your service.
If you have any questions about HIV or other communicable diseases, please contact your local health department or your doctor.
What to do if you think you have been exposed to HIV
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, contact a health care provider. There are options for prevention transmission after exposure!
PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is an HIV medical treatment that can be taken to prevent HIV-negative people from becoming infected.
PEP needs to be taken as soon as possible after you have been possibly exposed. Ideally within a couple hours, but it can be within the first 72 hour period after exposure. The sooner PEP is taken, the more likely it is to stop HIV infection.
It is also important to get tested. You can contact your local health department or doctor to get more information on testing and treatment options. There are also many organizations that provide free or low-cost HIV testing. Getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV.
If you test positive for HIV, there are treatments available that can prolong your life and improve your health.
With proper treatment, many people with HIV live long, healthy lives – and can keep HIV at undetectable levels. Actually, with treatment, people living with HIV have the same life expectancy as the rest of the public. We’ve come so far in these treatments and I think that is a great way to end this article.
Now, go, enjoy a nail, facial, or hair service! It is safe and self-care!