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Blood & Semen Survivability of HIV Outside of the Body

Jun 13, 2001

I have a 2 questions regarding HIV transmission and survivability outside of the body.

1,) How long will the HIV virus survive in blood outside of the body say within a insulin type of needle. I have been told by some needle sharers that the needle must be shared immediately in order to transmit HIV.They read that if the blood drys out that the virus doesn't survive. However what they fail to consider is what if there is still some fluid / liquid blood (unknown) remaining inside or even on the needle. How long will HIV survive in this circumstance? I know it can be spread through transfusions so it must be able to survive for some period of time in blood outside the body in fluid form.

2.)I have heard of some guys who hate using lube and get turned on by saving their semen after masturbation. They then either freeze it or refrigerate it to use as lube while fucking another HIV- guys ass without a condom at a later time. They seem to think that there is no risk for the receptive bottom ( if they were unknowingly HIV positive) because the freezing kills the virus and/or that refrigeration outside of the body also kills the virus. Is this true? How long does the HIV virus survive in semen after ejaculation! Will it survive freezing or refrigeration?

Response from Mr. Kull

Your friends might be wrong on both counts. Here's some information that hopefully helps:

1) Please refer my previous response to the question "Lifespan of virus in needle" ( In that response I identify a study that found that HIV in infected blood may actually survive longer within a hollow-bore needle/syringe under certain conditions than HIV infected blood exposed to the environment on a surface; possibly up to days or weeks longer. Injection needles should not be shared unless they have been properly cleaned, regardless of the time elapsed between sharing.

2) Guys saving their semen in the fridge for lube? That's actually a first for me (and I thought I heard everything)! Again, your friends might have it backwards. Storing HIV infected fluid in low or freezing temperatures might actually preserve the virus and extend its viability until it is thawed and used again. Heat is a more effective way to kill the virus.

More importantly, why are your buddies not thinking about their own risk for infection with HIV and other STDs when fucking another guy without a condom? The top is at risk for infection, as well as the bottom.

For information about survival of HIV in the environment, see the CDC's fact sheet on this topic (


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