Concentrated tissue culture pellets infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) containing 1 x 10(7) cells/ml were vaporized by means of a carbon dioxide laser. The vaporous debris resulting from the laser's impact were evacuated through sterile silastic tubing, then bubbled through sterile culture medium (RPMI) positioned in series with a commercial smoke evacuator. No HIV DNA was detected in the culture medium flask. Tissue culture studies of the silastic collection tubing revealed p24 HIV gag antigen in 3 of 12 tube segments at the end of 1 week and in 1 of 12 tube segments at 2 weeks. No sustained infection of HIV cultured cells was observed at the 28th day. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of particulate debris obtained from the silastic collection tubing was positive from proviral HIV DNA in both immediately sampled and day 14 cultured material.