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Toilet bowl


Yesterday I had to use a public toilet. While doing my business some water from the bowl splashed on my anus zone which is somewhat irritated and has small scratches. Could it be dangerous if the person who used the bathroom before me had HIV? I know you say HIV dies with the air but I don't know if it is the same in the water (water toilet in this case)… I should say I couldn't wash my anus zone until six hours later, I don't know if it is important. Thank you for your answer and I apologize if I have grammar errors (English is note my first language).


Hello and thank you for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

It sounds like you have some concerns about the likelihood of acquiring HIV from the described activity.

From what you have told me, you were using the public toilet and water from the bowl splashed on your anus, which is currently irritated. HIV is a human to human virus and does require a host to both thrive and survive. Thus, once the infected fluids from an HIV-positive person is released from the body and are exposed to the external environment such as the water in the public toilet the virus is no longer transmissible. This is due to HIV being a fragile virus and immediately becomes damaged once exposed out of the body and is damaged to the point where it can no longer be transmitted. In the scenario that you have described you would be at No Risk of acquiring HIV. The small scratches that you have in this region would not heighten your risk.

Below I have attached an HIV Transmission Equation chart, which goes into further detail on the necessary factors required for HIV transmission.


• blood (including menstrual) • unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse • vagina
• semen • sharing needles • anus
• pre-cum • mother to child (in specific cases) • urethra in the penis
• rectal secretions • open cuts and sores (in theory)
• vaginal fluids • other mucosal membranes
• breast milk • points of needle injection


For more information on HIV Transmission you can visit HIV Fact Sheets.


Chris, Volunteer