MadSci Network: Virology

Re: Lifespan of HIV in contact with air ?

Date: Thu Mar 6 19:18:34 2008
Posted By: Samuel Conway, Product Chemistry Supervisor
Area of science: Virology
ID: 1204734163.Vi

I couldn't find Dr. King's current contact information. I did, however, find a copy of the Biosafety Manual from the University of Ottawa online. It can be found at

There is a very intriguing statement therein: "Various studies have shown that survival rates for dried HIV-1 virus can be as high as 3 to 7 days. Viral infectivity decreases by 1 log every 8 to 9 hours. Thus a blood spill containning 3 logs of virus per milliliter could still contain viable virus for over 1 day if allowed to dry."

It led me to a paper (accessibly at in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology in 1994. The abstract stated "When dried onto a glass coverslip, virus remained infectious for several days, although cell-associated virus lost infectivity more rapidly than cell-free virus."

Now, these studies were done in human serum, not in semen, but based on these findings, I think that it is safe to say that the HIV virus is likely to remain viable in semen outside the body not only while the semen is still moist, but for a period of time after that semen has dried.

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