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Is it possible to get HIV from toilet bowl water?

Question: 

I washed my butt with water from the toilet bowl a couple of times, and am wondering if it's possible to get HIV from it.

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of HIV transmission after you cleaned your butt with water from the toilet bowl. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation(1). It does not satisfy the equation because:

  • For transmission to occur, the three components of the HIV Transmission Equation(1) must be met: there must be HIV present in a bodily fluid (ie: in blood, semen or rectal secretions), direct access to the bloodstream (ie: inside of the vagina, anus and other mucous membranes) paired with a high risk activity (ie: unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, sharing needles, mother to child)(1).

  • HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2).

HIV is not transmitted by sharing toilets or by way of the water in the toilet bowl. This is because HIV requires the 3 conditions of the HIV transmission equation(1), as listed above, to be met in order for transmission to occur. Your scenario does not satisfy these 3 conditions. HIV is transmitted from human-to-human, and not human-to-object-to-human.

HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces like a toilet, or the water within a toilet bowl), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2). Any bodily fluids containing HIV in the toilet bowl water, were already outside of the human body, exposed to environmental conditions and thus, unable to transmit HIV to you.

Thanks again for you question. We would encourage you to check out the resources listed below to learn more about HIV and HIV transmission.

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

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Hilary