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According to research by Professor Nonhlanhla Khumalo, Head of Dermatology at the University of Cape Town, men who prefer a clean-shaven hair cut known as “Chiskop” in the black community are at a greater risk of coming into contact with HIV.
Khumalo said that public education on adequate sterilisation of barber equipment between haircuts should not be delayed. Clients, who prefer a clean-shave haircut, should also be encouraged to own their own hair-clippers.
Northern News spoke to Cathy Venter, a hairdresser at Cutting Loose Salon who said she sterilises her equipment after
every client for hygienic purposes. “We put our equipment in water and disinfectant for sterilisation immediately after we are done with a client. We use a trim clipper to clean the neck hair to avoid blood spillage on our clients.”
The study advocates future investigations into potential HIV and Hepatitis B transmission through clean-shave haircuts and also confirms the entity of haircut-associated bleeding, but also goes further showing for the first time that invisible bleeding from clean-shave haircuts is also common.
We also spoke to local men who said that they love their Chiskop because it is easy to maintain and it is a very affordable cut. Jack Phiri of Marapong said that he has not thought about the dangers of sharing a blade but he trusts the barbers on the streets to clean their equipment as they would not put their clients at risk. “We do not know how big or small the risk of HIV-transmission through haircut-associated bleeding is but, it is reasonable to protect everyone from coming into contact with infected blood, particularly when having a haircut that we now know increases the risk of both visible and invisible injury,” Khumalo said.
She added that if you wear a Chiskop haircut make sure that the barber uses a steriliser. - Tebogo Tlhako (firstname.lastname@example.org)