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HIV and AIDS

Does Household Bleach Kill The HIV Virus?

04/12/2000

Question:

I`ve been told that household bleach kills the virus, but bleach also kills the tissue so therefore it cannot be placed into the human body. Is this true and is there any way to test this theory?

Answer:

Household bleach does kill HIV. It is most useful to kill HIV on innate surfaces like tables, floors, etc. Bleach can also be used to clean needles and drug paraphernalia used by injection drug abusers. The main idea behind the use of bleach was if someone accidently cut themselves and bled on the kitchen counter, the spill could be safely cleaned wearing gloves with household bleach. Household bleach is not safe for use on human beings. So, if you cut yourself, you shouldn`t use bleach to clean the wound. Also, you can`t swallow bleach because it causes damage to the esophagus (swallowing tube). Most of the time HIV is passed between people by sex. Bleach has no role for prevention or protection. Using barriers like condoms or bite blocks are the only known ways to protect someone from getting HIV if they have sex. Since bleach is not safe to use by humans, testing to see if it would work is not a good idea. Bleach is just too toxic for people.

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Response by:

Carl   Fichtenbaum, MD Carl Fichtenbaum, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati