After commissioning studies that
revealed traces of the AIDS and hepatitis viruses can survive on
clothing for several days, Australia's National Rugby League has
ordered that players must have bloodstained shirts soaked in bleach
on the sidelines.
A study conducted by St. Vincent's Hospital's Center for
Immunology in Sydney found traces of the HIV virus on bloodstained
clothing after it had been washed in normal detergents, Australian
media reported Wednesday.
NRL chief medical officer Hugh Hazard said while the HIV virus
could survive for up to 28 days outside the body, there was no
evidence HIV had ever been contracted through contact with
The NRL-commissioned research found that a simple solution of
0.5 percent bleach and two percent household detergent completely
eliminated the virus from all fabric.
Consequently, the league has ordered that all players with
bloodstained shirts must leave the field to have the uniform
treated. Any garments saturated with blood must be removed and
replaced under the new guidelines.
This safety procedure could be applied to all body contact
sports, including American football, basketball and ice hockey, the