At what temperature does HIV die and how long does it live in the external environment?

Stability of the virus in the external environment

The human immunodeficiency virus can live outside the body for a long time. However, this depends on many factors where the virus is located. For example:

  • virus concentration;
  • acidity of the environment;
  • exposure to sunlight;
  • environmental humidity;
  • temperature.

The most important conditions for the life of the virus are temperature and viral load . At a stable temperature and a large amount of viral load, the HIV virus can live in the external environment for about 48 days. The chance of becoming infected in a dental chair or in a nail salon increases significantly if the devices are not disinfected and treated.

People who have had contact with biological fluids of the body are often concerned about the life of the virus outside the human body and at what temperature does HIV die? This usually occurs after a person accidentally comes into contact with spilled or dried blood, saliva or other body fluids, even in small quantities.

It is worth saying right away that so far there have been no cases of HIV infection recorded after ordinary contact with blood, semen, saliva, etc. Infection is possible only if an infected biological fluid gets into a wound or inflammation on the skin (a scratch during a manicure, a cut on the gums at the dentist).

We advise you to always be interested in how instruments are processed in beauty salons and dentists. Don’t be afraid to seem boring, because this is how you take care of your health.

Favorable conditions for HIV infection

The more similar the conditions are to the human body, the longer the virus will exist. For example, HIV can survive in blood for transfusion for several years. And when frozen – up to 10 years.

Let us consider the conditions under which the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) will exist for the longest possible time.

In syringes and needles

HIV remains on the syringe needle at a temperature of 27 to 37 degrees Celsius for up to a week. The lower the temperature, the longer the virus will live in the syringe. In some cases, HIV may die only after a month.

Studies were carried out in which, from more than 800 syringes with blood residues remaining there, it was possible to isolate about 10% of the syringes with the HIV virus after 11 days. The blood volume, however, was less than 2 microliters.   

The lifespan of the HIV virus in a syringe depends on the following factors:

  • blood volume in the syringe;
  • quantitative indicator of the virus in the blood;
  • ambient temperature.

In blood

At room temperature, HIV can live in a drop of blood for several hours. At a temperature of 4 degrees it feels quite comfortable and the life expectancy in dried blood can reach a week.

In water

When HIV comes into contact with water, the infection quickly dies due to oxygen atoms, which have a detrimental effect on the virus. Studies have shown that tap water is not favorable for HIV. Therefore, you should not be afraid to drink water and swim in public places and reservoirs.

Scientists have conducted several experiments to study the life of the HIV virus in tap water and biological waste. In the first experiment, feces containing HIV infection were studied. The samples were placed in selected wastewater and the behavior of the virus was noted.

The experiment showed that the virus lost its ability to infect after 48 hours. In chlorinated tap water this happened after 2 hours. After 8 hours, the virus was completely destroyed.

During the second experiment, blood containing HIV got into tap water. The virus lost its ability to infect as soon as it entered the water. Therefore, we can say for sure that water is an unfavorable environment for the human immunodeficiency virus.

In sperm

HIV infection survives well in sperm. Even a small amount of virus in semen can produce up to a billion daughter virions in 48 hours. Inside the body, this process occurs constantly. HIV can survive in frozen semen for several months.

Under what conditions does HIV die?

At high temperature

HIV is very sensitive to high temperatures and is not able to survive at high temperatures. So at what temperature does HIV infection die?

The virus begins to die when the ambient temperature reaches 56 degrees. However, this is not enough to completely kill HIV. The strongest virus cells will remain alive and, under improved conditions, will begin to multiply again.

The destruction of the protein shell of the virus begins when it reaches 60 degrees Celsius. If you maintain this temperature for 30-40 minutes, HIV will be completely destroyed. HIV dies instantly at a temperature of 100 degrees.

On open air

HIV cannot live in the open air. When exposed to open air, the virus dies instantly, since oxygen has a detrimental effect on it. Therefore, HIV infection through airborne droplets is impossible.

HIV infection is afraid of the sun. Sunlight and ultraviolet radiation kill the virus instantly.


In conclusion, there are a few points to consider when determining a possible infestation:

  • infection is possible only through contact of damaged skin with natural concentrations of an infected person or through sexual contact. The virus does not live in air, water or acidic environments (stomach);
  • The virus content in the blood can be so low that even if you come into contact with infected blood through a wound or cut, the chance of becoming infected is extremely small. There are many myths about HIV infection and transmission. You can find out their veracity in the article Real facts against myths about HIV .

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