Risks to get HIV during cosmetic services — and how you can protect yourself
Overview of blood-borne transmission risks: Click here to see a table summarizing all blood-borne transmission risks.
Risks and prevention for specific procedures: Click on any procedure in the list below to find information about risks with that procedure and how you can protect yourself with Patient Observed Sterile Treatment (POST). The POST strategies described in these links propose 4 ways for you to protect yourself: (1) avoid skin-piercing procedures; (2) ask the provider to use new disposable instruments; (3) you sterilize the instruments; (4) talk with your providers about how he or she sterilizes instruments.
Skin-piercing procedures, accidental cuts and sores are common in cosmetic services. As far as cleaning of instruments is concerned, the situation in cosmetic services is generally much worse than in healthcare. Most doctors and nurses know to sterilize instruments, even if they don’t always do it. However, many people who provide cosmetic services have no formal training about how to sterilize instruments.
In practice, those who provide cosmetic services are often accountable only to their patrons. If a barber’s customers don’t know a reused razor is dangerous, the barber is unlikely to go to the expense of using a new one for each customer. Cosmetic services can be as dangerous as customers accept, or as safe as they demand.
For procedures not discussed here, you can work out with your providers what to do. Please leave a comment to tell us about your experiences.