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"If you have AIDS and your blood hits the surface of the air, is the virus still alive?"

ZocdocAnswersIf you have AIDS and your blood hits the surface of the air, is the virus still alive?


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This is an important question to discuss with your primary care doctor, who can talk to you about all of your HIV concerns. AIDS, as you know, is caused by the HIV virus. This virus lives in certain cells in the blood stream called white blood cells. The primary way that the HIV virus is transmitted from one person to another is by contact with secretions during sexual intercourse or by direct contamination with infected blood, usually by injection (either an accidental needle stick or sharing contaminated needles for injecting street drugs). The HIV virus can also be transmitted in breast milk from the mother to the nursing infant. The HIV virus, unlike some other viruses, cannot survive outside the body for very long. Therefore, once contaminated blood, for example, has dried, the chance of getting infected by that blood is very very low. Virtually all cases of transmission of HIV by coming into contact with blood have happened with fresh, undried blood. In almost all cases, this has been with a needle or sharp instrument injury. Furthermore, HIV virus is not transmitted through the air, nor is it transmitted by saliva or sweat. If you have more questions about HIV/AIDS in general, you could contact your primary care doctor, who would be happy to have a conversation with you and provide you with answers to any other questions!

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