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Re: Contradiction
Jul 26, 2001

Dear Nancy,

With regards to your response, I am not sure what you mean and what you were trying to explain. Would you kindly explain what the doctor said about the oxygen in blood to me more clearly please?

And yes, what I want to know is that why do you all at this forum claim that heat, light and air will kill the HIV in a small amount of body fluid in mere seconds whereas others just always state 'HIV cannot survive for very long in the open'? How did you managed to come up with such certainty? Is there any evidence to document what you all claim? I thought the survival of HIV will depend much on the amount of virus in the fluid, so how can anyone be so sure that no matter how much the virus present, HIV in drops of blood will die in seconds? Does air really kill the virus? How so? Air certainly isn't toxic to the HIV is it? I read from somewhere else that air doesn't kill HIV, it only dries the fluid making the condition unlivable for the HIV. Does this mean that the fluid must be dry before we can be sure that the virus is dead? But it certainly takes much longer than minutes, much less seconds for the fluid to dry, even when only drops of blood is concerned. So how can HIV die in seconds?

Please don't tell me to ask myself if any body fluids had a chance to come into contact with my blood stream or mucosa, as you do with other similar responses.Let's take it that there was such an exposure. I just want to know if I was at any risk from fluid left exposed to the air for more than a few seconds. If HIV cannot survive longer than a few seconds, then I shall not worry any more about me being a risk. Please help me please!

Response from Ms. Breuer

Since I'm not a scientist, my response here may not be much more helpful. If it isn't, I encourage you to ask a health care provider to explain it. Oxygen in the air is available for us to breathe. But oxygen in the blood, if it were present as an air bubble, could be lethal to us. It's not lethal because it's bound to hemoglobin. That is, the two have joined to form a compound, a different thing. So it isn't entirely accurate to say that there's "oxygen in the blood" in the same way that there's oxygen in the air.

As to the viability of HIV outside the body, I sense that we could correspond for a long time about all the variables of fluid quantity, viral load in the fluid, and time, and we'd be frustrated by the lack of studies. There aren't lots of people devoting lots of research time to this; in medical circles, the question is considered answered as far as it can be in general terms.

But you're thinking of some specific terms, and I don't know what they are. No one on this forum can answer the specific question of whether a particular exposure led to infection in your case. Only an HIV test can do that. I urge you to get the test at a site where you can ask questions about how soon after exposure the test is valid and related issues. Let's get that anxiety level down with some solid, reliable information, the kind only an HIV test can give you. Okay? All I can say in response to your questions is that HIV in a spilled body fluid is far less likely to be a source of infection than in a body fluid that has immediate contact with your mucosa or bloodstream, but of course that's not specific enough. Please accept the best answer I can give you: you deserve a real answer, an HIV test answer.

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