How Long Does HIV Live Outside The Body (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 Week

Health problems, diseases, and illnesses can spread in many ways. Some spread even when the affected person touches another. Other diseases can spread when the affected person breathes or sneezes near other people, and sometimes by using the devices of the affected, the disease can get transmitted. Either way, diseases can be transmitted in various ways and another way diseases get transmitted is through sexual intercourse. Two main diseases that spread through sexual intercourse or any sort of sexual activity are HIV and AIDS.

The interesting fact about these diseases is that, though they are sexually transmitted diseases, they can be sometimes transmitted when a person is exposed to HIV in a way. Every virus has a lifespan, just like every other living microorganism on the planet. Yet, like all the other organisms, even viruses must find hospitable locations to grow and spread around. Doctors have confirmed that HIV can spread through blood, and sometimes even tap water due to reasons.

HIV also exhibits symptoms like every other disease in the world, and when one experiences them, they must visit the doctor and get treated immediately as it is highly contagious and dangerous too, not only for the person who initially is affected by the virus but also the person who gets contradicted by it later.

How Long Does HIV Live Outside The Body?

LocationTime
In a refrigerated syringe42 days
In blood at room temperatures7 days
Tap water2 to 8 hours

People normally assume that HIV only lives inside the body and dies immediately when it gets outside in some way. That is true, Yet, according to scientists, HIV is usually transmitted by blood, saliva, and any sort of bodily fluid, so they stay alive in the blood even if the sample of blood is not inside the body. For experiments, doctors and scientists store blood in syringes, refrigerated. Normally, anything that is refrigerated lives longer, and the one that is exposed to room temperature tends to die sooner.

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Even viruses are that. HIV stored in a refrigerated syringe can live for around 42 days, while the ones stored in room temperatures or higher only live for 7 days. HIV lives in water for about 2 to 8 hours before they completely die off, but there is no proof for that. When someone is exposed to the virus, the symptoms will start taking effect in around one to two months. When someone is first infected with HIV, they will not experience a change in their body.

Why Does HIV Live Outside The Body That Long?

HIV symptoms are usually similar to one of the viral infections, so sometimes when not diagnosed, people mistake HIV for some sort of viral infection. The symptoms include malaise, enlargement in lymph nodes, fever, and headache. Sometimes, the virus can lay dormant for even 10 years before it starts growing inside the body and showing signs. HIV starts growing at a faster rate when the person’s immunity is going down day by day.

When a virus is placed on a surface, it loses its ability to infect other people, but if the conditions are hospitable for the specific virus, they do live for a while. More importantly, HIV lives for a while in dried semen, blood, and any bodily fluids and that is why they are transmitted through sex. Even trace amounts of HIV are found in saliva, tears, sweat, and sometimes even poop.

Conclusion

Many other severe symptoms show themselves when one has HIV and, some of them include getting fever frequently, loss of weight, changes in the skin, frequent yeast infections anywhere in the body, pelvic inflammatory diseases, and sometimes even memory loss. Herpes infections will start forming, and this will result in a nerve disease caused in the mouth, anal sores, and genital areas called shingles. This is the primary symptom of HIV.

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It is better to use condoms while having sex, never inject drugs, and limit the headcount of people with whom they have sex. Getting tested for STDs and HIV once the symptoms are felt is a great way to try and treat them in the initial stage.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22129997/
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/182334
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