Inactivation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in tissue culture fluid and in genital secretions by the spermicide benzalkonium chloride

J Clin Microbiol. 1990 Jan;28(1):156-8. doi: 10.1128/jcm.28.1.156-158.1990.


We have shown that the spermicidal agent benzalkonium chloride can exert a direct inhibitory effect on the viral reverse transcriptase activity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) when utilized at concentrations of 0.05% and higher. Exposure of HIV-1 to this disinfectant at concentrations of more than 0.05% was able to completely destroy viral infectivity, as assessed on susceptible target cells. We have further shown that HIV-1, which is present in both seminal and genital secretions, can be inactivated in such fluids by direct exposure to benzalkonium chloride.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents*
  • Benzalkonium Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Culture Media
  • Female
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • HIV-1 / enzymology
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Semen / microbiology
  • Spermatocidal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Vagina / metabolism
  • Vagina / microbiology


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Benzalkonium Compounds
  • Culture Media
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Spermatocidal Agents