Bloodborne HIV: Don't Get Stuck!

Protect yourself from bloodborne HIV during healthcare and cosmetic services

Patron observed sterile treatment for manicures and pedicures

POST for manicures and pedicures
1. Avoid skin-piercing procedures If you are not sure your provider has sterilized all reused instruments, stay way. Do it yourself at home, or go to another provider.
2. Use new disposable instruments Some instruments used in manicures and pedicures, such as razors, are so cheap they can be treated as single-use disposables. You can buy and bring razors and other disposables, or ask your provider to take them out of sealed packages in front of you.
3. You sterilize the instruments (a) You can buy a set of reusable instruments that you keep at home and bring to the provider to use. If they’re only used for you, you don’t need to sterilize them.(b) If you are in doubt about whether a provider has sterilized instruments, you can sterilize some of them on the spot by passing them through a flame until they are hot enough to burn you, and then letting them air cool.
4. Ask providers how they sterilize instruments In beauty salons, a common procedure to clean instruments between customers is to wipe them with bleach or alcohol, or to soak them in a pan with bleach, alcohol, Dettol, other chemical, or even just water. This is not enough. Insist that the instruments used on you have been boiled or flamed.

Additional information about manicures and pedicures

During manicures and pedicures, cuticle cutters and cuticle pushers are used to clean the nails. Neither is supposed to pierce the skin, but they often do. Corn cutters, reusable knives, cuticle pushers, and surgical blades may be used to remove dead skin. Often there is bleeding during these processes. Another common procedure is to remove blackheads with a tool that presses the skin. This often leads to bleeding, which could contaminate the tool.

Risk to get HIV from a manicure or pedicure

If a manicurist reuses an instrument that has cut a previous HIV-positive client without any effort to clean, and if the instrument cuts you, your risk to get HIV may be estimated as 0.5%-3% (see Table on Estimated risks in Blood-borne Risks section, depending on the depth of the cut and on other factors.

If all instruments are disposables or sterilized, or you bring your own instruments from home, you can be sure you will not get HIV from a manicure or pedicure.

Apparent case of HIV transmission through shared manicure instruments

A Brazilian woman, aged 22 years, was found with advanced AIDS despite no known risks for HIV. After discussion, the woman reported sharing manicure instruments 10 years earlier with an older cousin, later known to be infected. Sequencing of HIV found that HIV from the older cousin and the was similar to that from the younger woman.[1]


1. Matsuda EM, Coelho LPO, Pimentel VJ, et al. An HIV-1 transmission case possibly associated with manicure care. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2014; 30: 1050-1053. Available at: (accessed 7 January 2019).



4 responses to “Patron observed sterile treatment for manicures and pedicures

  1. Pingback: Welcome to the Don’t Get Stuck With HIV blog and website « Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  2. Pingback: Risk of Blood-borne Viruses from Skin-piercing Beauty Treatments | Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  3. Pingback: Risk of Blood-borne Viruses from Skin-piercing Beauty Treatments | Blogtivist

  4. Pingback: Happy New Year to All our Visitors | Don't Get Stuck With HIV

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