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25 Years and Still No Real Answer?
Aug 19, 2006

Hi Dr. Bob,

After 25 years of studying HIV why is it that we still have no real definitive answer as too how long HIV survives in the environment? The answers on the internet range from seconds to hours (Google it and see). The CDC seems to have the same response on their website indicating that lab studies with high concentrations etc..and how real samples from people are not that high concentrated. With all these researchers testing away have we never really found a conclusive answer to this? Has there never been some tests performed in a average room temperature environment, in which an average sample was used and an average or definitive answer was given? What is your opinion on how long it survives outside the body? And has contacting HIV from an environmental surface (bathroom, transit handle, etc) in which fresh or dried blood.. ever occured? I once cut my hand on a bathroom towel dispenser would you warrant testing for this? I'm just suprised that no real answer has never been found and i noticed after checking the forums here it points to the same CDC answer regarding the lab sample and the high concentrations etc... that never really does give a time period.

Thank You, and PS they needed guys like you in Toronto to tell it like it is.

A Canadian Dr. Bob Fan.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

OK, so you would like tests performed in an average-room-temperature environment. Hmmm . . . would that be an average room in Sub-Saharan Africa? Mumbai? Iceland? Crawford, Texas? Quebec City? And you want tests with an average sample? Would that be one drop of blood? Two drops? A small puddle? More than a small puddle, but less than a slasher flick??? And what average patient's viral load should we use? A viral load of undetectable? 10,000 copies? 100,000 copies? 1,000,000 copies? Are you beginning to see the problem here?

Many tests have been performed and the results are very conclusive. HIV does not survive very long at all outside the body, but we cannot give you the exact time in seconds or minutes without knowing and testing the exact circumstances of a specific situation.

Has HIV even been contracted from an environmental surface, such as a "bathroom handle or transit handle," etc. with fresh or dried blood? Nope! At least not to my knowledge.

Does your cut hand warrant HIV testing? Nope! How's that for a direct answer?

Wish I could be in Toronto. That way my cell phone wouldn't be ringing every 30 seconds with someone from Toronto calling me to ask or tell me something. Ring, ring, ring . . . there it goes again!

Stay well, Canadian Fan.

Dr. Bob



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