Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne AIDS and Survival in Air
Name: Richard
Status: Other
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
Does the aids virus die once it is airborne?

Obviously it can be transmitted via the exchnage of bodily fluids but, if the infected persons fluids are exposed to air outside the body, does the virus survive?



Replies:
HIV, the virus responsible for AIDS, is an enveloped virus. That means it's surrounded by a lipid membrane. In other words, it's wearing a coat of the same material that surrounds living cells. That's sturdy enough inside a body, but not outside in the rest of the world. If the virus should be coughed into the air, or spilled onto a surface like a toilet seat, it would not survive long enough to infect anybody.

Christine Ticknor
Ph.D. Candidate
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut



Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory