“Can I Get HIV From Washing Machines?”

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Hello Mr. Ray,

I would like to get some advice from you regarding HIV transmission.

Because of the nature of my job, I have to always travel from one place to another. During this I have to stay in the hotel for many days. For washing my clothes, I often use the washing machines which are kept in the hotel for washing clothes. These machines are used by many people for washing clothes. Do I need to take any special care when using these machines for washing my clothes, as these machines are used by several people; some of them might be infected with the disease or the clothes which are brought for washing might be contaminated with body fluids of the infected person.

Please advise.
There is no danger to you in using these washing machines. Infection with HIV requires direct contact with body fluids contaminated with the virus. HIV is actually a very fragile virus outside the body so even if someone were to have washed clothes containing blood or semen from an infected individual in the machine you are about to use, the virus will have been disabled long before by exposure to air, drying and the chemicals in the detergent. Infection also requires exposure to a large number of virus particles. So even if, by the remotest of chance, some virus particles survived all this (and the heat of the dryer), there simply would not be enough of them to cause infection by the time you put your clothes on or even handled them in the laundry facility.

I am confident that you have nothing to be afraid of.

Respectfully,

Ray Bohlin
Probe Ministries

Dr. Ray Bohlin

Raymond G. Bohlin is Vice President of Vision Outreach at Probe Ministries. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.S., zoology), North Texas State University (M.S., population genetics), and the University of Texas at Dallas (M.S., Ph.D., molecular biology). He is the co-author of the book The Natural Limits to Biological Change, served as general editor of Creation, Evolution and Modern Science, co-author of Basic Questions on Genetics, Stem Cell Research and Cloning (The BioBasics Series), and has published numerous journal articles. Dr. Bohlin was named a Research Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture in 1997, 2000 and 2012.

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Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

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