Question

I think this web site is great. I use it as a teaching tool

with my health classes. I understand the HIV can only live outside the body for a few minutes, but my question is about environmental tempts. Will HIV live survive longer in an environment that is above freezing or one that is below freezing? Will it die at all if it is frozen?

Thanks

Answer

Please refer to my response to Lifespan of virus in needle, which describes a study that found virus contained in needles stored at LOWER temperatures had longer viability than those stored at higher temperatures. Storing blood specimens at lower or freezing temperatures will generally increase the viability of HIV and other microorganisms. High temperatures probably decrease HIV viability. The Red Cross exposes donated blood products to extreme heat to kill microorganisms that may cause infections in humans.

You must be careful when extrapolating this information to HIV in an uncontrolled environment. The above information in no way suggests that two people having sex in a refrigerator increases their chances for infection. No studies show that HIV is transmitted by inanimate objects (except with injection needles) or by casual contact and temperature has never been a factor in those studies.

RMK