MYTH #1

THE HIV VIRUS IS VERY FRAGILE AND DIES IMMEDIATELY ONCE OUTSIDE THE HUMAN BODY

The truth of the matter is that the HIV virus (the AIDS virus) is one of the hardiest viruses known to mankind. According to a study from the Pasteur Institute in Paris (where the HIV virus was initially identified), French investigators found, "unusual stability of LAV-HTLV (virus) at room temperature." A culture of HIV virus was kept in a sealed tube in moist form. The Pasteur Institute reported, "The unusual stability of LAV-HTLV (the HIV virus-ed) at room temperature...No significant difference (in the amount of infectious virus-ed) was found between zero, two, or four days, and only a slight decrease (in infectiousness-ed) was noted with a delay in virus production, indicating a loss of a few infectious particles, after seven days at room temperature."

In the case of the dry virus kept at room temperature for periods of four and seven days, the French scientists reported: "A significant number of viral particles are then inactivated, but some infectious virus is still present since release of virus was seen on day 10." The report went on to say..."The results indicate that the virus is resistant at room temperature, either in dry form or in liquid medium...this resistance of LAV (the HIV virus-ed) may explain the appearance of some AIDS cases in non-risk groups...moreover, more safety precautions should be taken in laboratories, in hospitals, and by dentists who use a vacuum pump." (10)

Shortly after the Pasteur Institute study was published in September 1985, researchers from the Tumor Cell Biology Laboratory of the National Institute of Health in the United States reported similar findings, stating: "In a dried state, complete inactivation of virus required between three and seven days...(and in moist form-ed) complete inactivation of infectious virus was seen between 11 and 15 days of exposure at 36 to 37 degrees centigrade...Even under the most rigorous heating conditions commonly used to inactivate complement (54 to 56 degrees centigrade), infectious virus was found three hours after exposure." (11)

Subsequently, the CDC repeated these studies and presented their findings at the 3rd International Conference on AIDS in Washington D.C. in June 1987. Their report stated:

"The HIV virus survives for several days after being dried and placed on stainless steel strips in a desiccator jar at room temperature." (12)

The virus can survive freezing, and has been transmitted to uninfected patients by surgical implantation of infected, frozen bone specimens. (13)

Prior to 1985, thousands of hemophiliacs around the world were given units of reconstituted, dried, hemophiliac cryoprecipitate known as Factor VIII. Unfortunately, this blood product had not been specifically heat treated to kill the HIV virus. Thus the virus was able to survive drying, shipping, and subsequent storage for prolonged periods of time. As a result of the use of untreated Factor VIII, 10,000 (about half) of America's hemophiliac population became infected with the HIV virus. (14)

In view of these readily available scientific studies that confirm the hardiness of the HIV virus, why is the public consistently told that the virus is fragile, and dies immediately once outside the human body? Quite simply, to allay apprehension on the part of the public, and to reassure our populace that there is absolutely no danger of contracting HIV disease other than by sex, blood contact, or from infected mothers to their children.

MYTH #2

THE HIV VIRUS IS READILY KILLED BY ALCOHOL, HOUSEHOLD DISINFECTANTS, OR A 10% BLEACH SOLUTION

For almost a decade, medical personnel and the public have been assured that alcohol, a 10% bleach solution, household disinfectants, and medical disinfectants would kill the HIV virus on contact. This misinformation has resulted in the infection and subsequent deaths of countless thousands of IV drug users who were encouraged to use a 10% bleach solution to irrigate their drug paraphernalia, assured that 10% bleach was lethal to the virus. How many medical personnel and laboratory workers have also been infected unnecessarily is unknown since medical personnel are not routinely tested, and even if found to be infected, their disease is not reportable to the CDC in the majority of our states where the epidemic is centered. The initial scientific study on household disinfectants was performed at the National Institute of Health in 1985, then published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in April 1986. (15)

The researchers took cell-free viral specimens, dried the virus on metal strips, and placed the strips into alcohol, acetone, and a 10% bleach solution. In each case, the virus was promptly killed. Unfortunately, no one subsequently bothered to check to determine whether alcohol, acetone, or a 10% bleach solution would inactivate the HIV virus under clinical conditions -i.e. if the virus was contained within serum or blood as ordinarily found in laboratories, hospitals, or in an intravenous drug user's syringe. Our nation can send a man to the moon, and space probes to Mars and Jupiter, yet no one at the CDC bothered to check to determine whether alcohol or a 10% bleach solution would actually inactivate the HIV virus under clinical conditions. It was not until 1993, 7 years after AIDS activists began distributing bottles of 10% bleach solution to IV drug users (with the assurance that the bleach solution would save their lives), that scientific studies were published dealing with the effectiveness of 10% bleach in sterilizing IV drug users' syringes and needles. These studies demonstrated that, in comparing two groups of IV drug users, one group that routinely irrigated their syringes with a 10% bleach solution, the other group not using bleach irrigation, the rate of HIV seroconversion was identical. It was subsequently recognized that both serum and blood protected the virus from deactivation by disinfectants, and that only full-strength bleach solution (taken directly from the container) was capable of deactivating the HIV virus contained in blood, serum, or a blood-coated syringe. (16)

In October 1994 British researchers warned that alcohol, which is still being widely used as an HIV virus disinfectant, could not be depended upon to kill the virus in clinical settings. (17)

Although most disinfectants used in hospitals claim to kill the HIV virus on contact, you must call or write to the manufacturer for specifics. Recently I was given a bottle of a commonly used hospital disinfectant which claimed on the label that the product killed the HIV virus. Upon contacting the manufacturer, I was sent the scientific studies to verify their claim. These studies stated that "the disinfectant would kill the HIV virus if (1) the virus was in no more that a 5% serum medium, (2) the virus was situated on a hard, nonporous surface, and (3) the disinfectant solution was left in contact with the virus for 4-10 minutes." The problem is that (1) the virus usually will be contained in a 25% or higher serum/blood medium, (2) many surfaces are not nonporous, and (3) few nurses or hospital personnel on a busy ward have 4-10 minutes to spend waiting before wiping off a contaminated surface. (18)

The obvious solution to this problem would be to know which hospitalized patients are infected so that special precautions can be taken. Unfortunately, AIDS activists have blocked a logical and compassionate approach to this problem. As a result, the lives and safety of medical and hospital personnel continue to be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.


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