A Staff Report from the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

If chlorine in swimming pools kill AIDS, why can't it be used as an AIDS cure?

December 11, 1997

Dear Straight Dope:

If chlorine in swimming pools kills AIDS, which makes it safe to swim with someone infected, why is chlorine not being made into some new wonder drug for AIDS?

SDStaff Jillgat replies:

Chlorine injected into the vein will definitely kill HIV in an infected person, the virus that causes AIDS. It will kill everything, including the host (or hostess, as the case may be). The purpose of chlorine in swimming pools is to kill other kinds of organisms that can spread that way — it is not specifically for HIV. You are perfectly safe swimming in a pool with someone infected with HIV, even without chlorine, as long as you're not having sex in the pool (in which case, chlorine won't help either).

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