What is the risk of contracting HIV from unsterlised razors?
Q: I am apprehensive about getting HIV infection from barber shops. I always go to decent hair salons. While shaving the back of the neck and areas behind the ears, they use razors with replaceable blades. I always make sure that they replace the blades. But I am not happy the way they clean the razor- with small quantities of water and antiseptic like dettol (diluted) and that too for a very short period. I have visited so many salons in various cities in the last few years but except a few, nobody truly sterilises their razors and scissors. My question is why don’t the local authorities/health inspectors prescribe guidelines on sterilising their equipment, like the way they have been told to replace blades before servicing a new customer? Second, is there significant risk of contracting HIV from an unsterlised razor when the tip i.e. blade is fresh. I am more concerned as my skin is very sensitive and I invariably get skin irritation / minor bruises after the back of the neck is shaved?
A:With a new (unused) blade fixed in the razor there is no chance of HIV infection. The fact that they clean the holder (razor) with dettol or similar antiseptic is really irrelevant as far as HIV is concerned - it is changing to a new unused blade that counts. However the wiping with a cotton swab with a mild antiseptic is all to the good as it promotes good hygiene habits in the salon concerned and the barber in particular .