Patron observed sterile treatment for scarification
|POST for scarification
|1. Avoid skin-piercing procedures
||Don’t get scarification marks. This only works for people who are willing to forego the marks.
|2. Use new disposable instruments
||(a) Ask the scarifier to use a new razor (or other new cutting instrument) for you. (b) If the scarifier rubs any substance into a scar, make sure there is no chance someone else’s blood has gotten into the substance. You can, for example, ask the scarifier to make a portion especially for you. If you are being treated in a group, you can ask the scarifier to set aside a portion for each person before beginning the process. (c) If you are being treated in a group, ask the scarifier to put on a new glove or gloves for each person he or she treats.
|3. You sterilize the instruments
||If a cutting instrument must be reused, you could ask to sterilize it by holding it in a flame or boiling it.
|4. Ask providers how they sterilize instruments
||If the scarifier wants to reuse a cutting instrument that he or she has used with other clients, ask if it has been boiled after the last client.
Additional information about scarification
Scarification is common in some African communities, for example to indicate a person’s ethnic group. In some cases it is almost required.
Risk to get HIV from scarification
If the scarifier reuses a razor from an HIV-positive client with no effort to clean, your risk to get HIV may be estimated at 3% (deep cuts, but without a hollow needle; see Blood-borne Risks section). If the substance rubbed into your cut(s) has been contaminated by blood from someone who is HIV-positive, that adds to your risk.
If the razor is new, if the substance rubbed into your scar is not contaminated by anyone’s blood, and if the scarifier wears new gloves, you have no risk to get HIV from scarification.
Evidence that scarification has infected some people with HIV
Studies that test people for HIV infections and ask about scarification provide no consistent picture. Some studies find that people who have been scarified are more likely to be HIV-positive, while others report the opposite. This inconsistent evidence suggests that scarification infects some people, but that other risks are often more important.