Average Time In Air
According to the John Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education, HIV lives for an average of 30 seconds to one minute once it is exposed to air.
Concentration and Conditions
Although HIV is inactivated quickly after exposure to the air, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation notes that this time depends on two key factors: the concentration of HIV in the fluid and the conditions to which the fluid is exposed. It is actually the drying of the fluid that contributes to the inactivation of HIV. The SFAF, quoting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that the viral concentration in a fluid falls 90 percent to 95 percent within a matter of hours.
According to the SFAF, blood in a used hypodermic needle is not exposed directly to the air, thus the virus can live for several days in that environment. An infected bodily fluid should not be handled by anyone with breaks in the skin. Both hand soap and bleach kill HIV quickly. It should be noted that no form of HIV is airborne, and so the virus cannot be contracted through coughing or sneezing.