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Woman Contracts HIV Through Manicure Equipment

Update Date: Nov 11, 2014 10:05 AM EST
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In a rare case of HIV transmission, a 22-year-old in Brazilian was infected after sharing manicure equipment with a cousin several years ago.

The incident was reported in online journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. The woman's status of infection came to light when she volunteered for blood donation and tested HIV positive. Following blood work, her condition was said to be normal but a high viral load found, indicating the patient had a long-standing infection.

As the woman denied all classical transmission routes including intercourse and needle sharing, and her mother too tested negative, doctors examined her past. Both the patient and mother reported sharing manicure equipment with a cousin 10 years ago, whose infection status was not known at the time of equipment sharing but who later tested positive for HIV.

Samples were then obtained from the woman and her cousin for analysis, which showed that the viral genetic material in both women was highly related. Researchers concluded that a common ancestor to the virus in both women.

"The estimated common ancestor date (about 11 years ago) corresponds to the period of the referred sharing of manicure instruments, a time when PIC was not virally suppressed," study author Elaine Monteiro Matsuda and other researchers wrote.

 "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. 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," they said in a press release.

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