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Dirty Restroom / Shower

Question: 

Hello AIDS Vancouver,

I had a question regarding the risks involved with cleaning / using a dirty restroom. Would these two scenarios result in any potential risk of transmission?

1st scenario) Water from the toilet splashing into the eyes

2nd scenario) Putting on underwear after walking on the dirty floor (feet will have brushed the inside of the underwear), with the head of my penis being mildly irritated and the opening contacting the underwear directly. This will have occurred about an hour after the last person used the restroom.

Thanks for your time and any information you can provide.

Answer: 

Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about two scenarios. Scenario one being an encounter with water from a toilet with the eyes. Scenario two, an encounter between the head of your penis and underwear that has brushed the bottom of your feet, which would have previously been on a dirty restroom floor.

1) Water from a toilet splashing into the eyes is considered to be a No Risk event (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario). There are a few reasons as to why this is not considered to be a risk for HIV transmission. Consider the following quote from the CDC:

"HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host.” (1).

HIV is extremely volatile when outside of the body. When exposed to environmental surfaces (such as toilet water) HIV is quickly rendered inactive and undergoes a rapid reduction in concentration (2). Further, any risk involved in timing of HIV in the water would be eliminated would not be present, as it would be greatly diminished in comparison.

2) Same answer applies to this scenario. Although your feet may have come into contact with any of the bodily fluids known to be avenues for HIV transmission; any trace of HIV in these fluids would be inactive and provide No Risk to you when rubbed into your underwear, and subsequently, the head of your penis.

Overall, both of these scenarios are considered to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided, refer to a physician for any other health related questions.

All the best,

AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline, Cody