Nails & HIV: Is Your Nail Salon Using Protection?

When getting a much-needed mani or pedi, usually the only things to worry about are a long wait or your favorite color being out of stock. Unfortunately, some potential dangers may also be lurking in the salon that aren’t so pretty. In 2014, a 22-year-old Brazilian woman may have contracted HIV – simply by getting her nails done.

The woman was diagnosed with advanced HIV, but she didn’t participate in any of the most common risk factors. She never had sex, surgery, a blood transfusion or any tattoos or piercings. Her unique case was published in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.

How could this have happened?

Ten years before her diagnosis, the woman remembered sharing nail instruments with her cousin who was a manicurist. The cousin was later diagnosed with HIV. The two women had very similar strains of the virus.

Learn Your Status At Home In Only 20 Minutes! 

According U.S. News & World Report, about 75 percent of salons in the U.S. don’t follow state protocol for disinfection, leaving you at risk of serious infections, like HIV or hepatitis C.

Contracting HIV in a nail salon is a possibility, say experts. “Any sharp instrument could theoretically carry this risk,” Dr. Ronald Hershow, an infectious disease expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, who has studied HIV in women told Yahoo Health.