Bloodborne HIV: Don't Get Stuck!

Protect yourself from bloodborne HIV during healthcare and cosmetic services

Who this resource is for

This website is for parents, patients, and the general public.

Do you or your spouse or children ever go to a hospital, clinic, barbershop, beauty salon, or any other place where you or they might be stuck or cut? If your answer is “yes,” then this resource is for you.

We advise you not to read this resource through in its entirety. Browse through to see what’s here. Bookmark it. Then, when you or someone in your family is going for an injection, haircut, or other procedure, return to it. Go through the A-Z of the site and identify the pages that describe risks to get HIV from that procedure, and that suggest what you can do protect yourself. Then, with that information fresh in your mind, go for the procedure. Be safe!

When you see details in this resource about injections and other medical procedures, you might think, “This resource isn’t for me. I don’t need to know that stuff.” If you live in a country where HIV is rare, and where most infections are in men who have sex with men and injection drug users, you might be right not to worry about getting HIV from medical and cosmetic procedures. But that’s not the situation in Africa. So you can take your chances with your eyes closed, or open your eyes to look out for yourself.

Doctors and nurses? If you are a doctor or nurse, you should already know how to protect your patients. But even if you are knowledgeable and careful, you can make mistakes. And not everyone is careful. It is reasonable that your patients do not blindly trust you or other medical experts. This resource suggests ways that you can not only be sure what you do is safe for your patients, but can also show them the procedures are safe.

People who provide cosmetic services, such as barbers and hairdressers? If you provide services that sometimes scratch or cut your clients, you can read the parts of this resource that deal with those services. Those pages will describe how you can protect your clients from HIV and at the same time show them that they are safe with you. You might also want to organize meetings among providers, so that everyone learns to be safe.

Are you HIV-positive?

If you are, HIV weakens your ability to fight off a lot of other infections. Thus you are at increased risk from any pathogen (germ) you might meet on reused and unsterilized instruments. You can use the suggestions in this resource to protect yourself in health care and cosmetic services. You can also use this resource to fight stigma – to educate people that a lot of HIV infections come from blood-to-blood contacts, not sex.

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