Invisible Bleeding from Clean-Shave Haircuts: Detection with Blood Specific RNA MarkersKhumalo N.P.a · Mkentane K.a, b · Muthukarapan C.c · Hardie D.d, e · Korsman S.d, e · Hu N.d, f · Mthebe T.g · Davids L.M.b · Rousseau J.c
aDivision of Dermatology, Groote Schuur Hospital, Departments of bHuman Biology, cGenetics and dMedical Virology, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Cape Town, eNational Health Laboratory Service, Groote Schuur Hospital, fNational Institute for Communicable Diseases, University of Cape Town, and gLanga Community Health Clinic, Cape Town Central Health District, Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
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Article / Publication Details
Background: ‘Haircut-associated bleeding' is a newly recognized entity that affects at least a quarter of African men who wear shiny clean-shave (‘chiskop') haircuts. Aim: This pilot study aimed to elucidate whether invisible haircut-associated bleeding was detectable using blood specific RNA markers (16 participants, 5 with unknown HIV status) and whether surface virus could be detected using PCR from scalp swabs (of 11 known HIV-positive participants). Methods: Haircuts were performed professionally and scalps examined by a dermatologist to exclude injury. Serum samples for viral loads were also collected at the same time. Results: In all, 6/16 (37%) samples tested positive (>100 relative fluorescent units) for hemoglobin beta and albumin, confirming evidence of blood; of these, only 1/11 was HIV-positive but had an undetectable serum viral load. No surface HIV was detected from any scalp samples. Conclusions: This study confirms the entity of haircut-associated bleeding but goes further to show for the first time that invisible bleeding from clean-shave haircuts is also common. Both a high serum viral load and evidence of bleeding should ideally be present prior to surface HIV detection. Future investigations for potential HIV (and hepatitis B) transmission through clean-shave haircuts are warranted but should not delay public education for disease prevention.
© 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel
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