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Survival of HIV outside body?

Nov 11, 1996

Hi Rick I recently read an article by the CDC that HIV only survives outside the body for a second or two. Yet in your answers you often say that HIV survives for a few minutes. So who is correct or does it depend on the quantity? Say if there was just minimal amount of vaginal fluids on my hands after I touched a woman's vagina, does that mean that the vius on my hands will die sooner than a few minutes? Keep up the great work. I find your information invaluable.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question.

In my regular dealings with CDC, I have not found any information stating that HIV will only survive outside the body or one or 2 seconds. Because HIV's survival outside the body depends on multiple environmental conditions, there is no one specific amount of time that HIV will live outside the body. The longer that HIV is outside the body, the weaker it gets, and the less the chance of transmission. And the more body fluid that is outside the body, the longer it will take to dry, and the longer the virus will live outside the body. But generally speaking, the virus will only survive outside the body for several minutes.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS

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