Posted by: Des | 2007/06/22


Hi Doctor,

How long does it take for HIV to die in a spot of blood on a tissue exposed to the elements like air and sunlight?


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Our expert says:
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Dear Des
We know the virus is not transmitted except during unprotected sex, sharing needles, or through significant and direct exposure to infected blood.
The length of time HIV can survive outside the body depends on the amount of HIV present in the body fluid and
what conditions the fluid is subjected to. HIV is very fragile, and many common substances, including hot water, soap, bleach and alcohol, will kill it. Air does not "kill" HIV, but exposure to air dries the fluid that contains the virus, and that will destroy or break up much of the virus very quickly. The CDC reports that drying HIV reduces viral amount by 90-99% within several hours.It should be noted that HIV can survive for several days in the small amount of blood that remains in a needle after use, because the blood is trapped where air cannot dry it out. As a result, used needles are very risky for HIV transmission; they provide a direct path into the bloodstream.

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