Anonymous
What is the actual facts on HIV exposure to air. It seems to vary on this and many other sites, does it actually stop the ability for it to be passed or not ???
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Anonymous
Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the ability for HIV to be passed through air. HIV cannot be transmitted through the air. For a risk to exist, specific HIV-positive fluids (eg. blood, semen, vaginal fluids) must come into direct contact with the blood stream of an HIV-negative person.

In regards to the facts on HIV exposure to air, there is no complete conclusive answer to this question as the survival time of HIV outside of the body depends on several factors:

1. pH level (optimum is 7.1)
2. Temperature (optimum is 37 degrees Celsius)
3. Storage in a vacuum (like a syringe) with no oxygen can allow the virus to sustain for up to 7 days.
4. HIV drying out on a surface causes 90-99% concentration depletion over several hours.
5. Quote from CDC: "HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host."
6. Almost any instance of HIV continuing to be reactive after several hours/days outside of the body is because of laboratory conditions, and should be looked at critically when applying to real-life situations.
7. At the concentrations found after drying out, there is a negligible chance of there being enough reactive virus to transmit HIV.

In general, the HIV virus is rendered inactive outside of the body when there is exposure to oxygen.

Regards,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Ashley


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