Australian Rugby Study Finds HIV Can Live in Fabric For Days
Research commissioned by Australia's National Rugby League found that HIV can survive in "blood-soaked football jerseys" for several days, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Scientists previously believed that the virus died upon exposure to air after more than a minute. However, Dr. Peter French of St. Vincent's Center for Immunology found that HIV can survive in fabric for up to 28 days, the rugby league's chief medical officer, Dr. Hugh Hazard, told reporters last night. The study was prompted after the mother of a rugby player called a radio talk program concerned about her son's health (Mascord/Banham, Sydney Morning Herald, 2/21). The NRL has issued new HIV guidelines that require clubs to treat blood stains immediately with a solution containing a mixture of 2% detergent and 0.5% bleach in water. The solution was shown to "completely" eliminate the virus in tests. All players with blood-stained clothing must leave the field to have their uniforms treated (Associated Press, 2/21). The solution must remain in contact with the blood stain for between one and five minutes. Along with already existing blood safety rules, the procedure should ensure "maximum protection," Hazard said. Other Australian sports leagues may also adopt the new guidelines (Sydney Morning Herald, 2/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.