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Sep 7, 2001

It is stated that HIV dies almost instantly on contact with heat, light, or air. Does light refer specifically to sunlight? Or would all forms of light kill HIV? Must the light source be very bright for this to occur? What do you mean almost instantly by the way? Does it mean in a few seconds, HIV will die on exposure to air? Must HIV infected fluid dry up for this to occur or can the fluid still be most but exposed to air for seconds then HIV will surely be dead?

Response from Ms. Breuer

These are all very interesting questions that really are more aptly directed to researchers than to experts in workplace HIV issues. For us, a question acquires its meaning when we're asked about an actual exposure with real details. We can't respond in general about the effects of light, which kind of light, duration of HIV's viability outside the body because of all the variables involved. But give us a real situation and we'll do all we can to help.

Please remember that none of this matters at all unless someone else other than the "fluid-spiller" comes along and comes into immediate contact with the fluid, exposing either a mucous membrane or a bloodstream. So anyone cleaning up a fluid spill must wear gloves, for example. Approach us at that level and we'll blanket you with responses!



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