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Toilet seat

Question: 

This is a really stupid question. I acknowledge that. Just trying to put my mind at ease and also find out the risk of exposure. I was in a hurry yesterday morning at a bagel shop. Long story short I accidently touched my tampon applicator on a public toilet seat while using the restroom. Was in hurry and not paying attention and inserted it. I realized what I did 2 seconds later and took it out and replaced it with a new one. Went home and cleaned as best as I could. I have been using pads since to decrease risk of TSS. What is risk of contracting HIV or hep C? There was no visible blood, but it also wasn't the cleanest restroom I have ever seen. What is risk of exposure and should PEP be started? Thank you.

Answer: 

Hi there, and thanks a lot for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline for you HIV/AIDS related health information.

It sounds like you are concerned about you risk of HIV transmission when your tampon touched a toilet seat before you inserted it.

The situation that you have described is a No Risk situation. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • HIV is a Human-to-Human virus. It cannot be transmitted to you by an object, like a toilet or a tampon.

  • HIV needs a human host to survive. Once HIV is outside of the body and exposed to oxygen it can no longer transmit. This means that any bodily fluids containing HIV on the toilet seat or your tampon were outside of the human body, exposed to oxygen and thus could not longer transmit HIV to you.

On this forum we focus solely on HIV risk. For more information about Hep C, please visit CATIE.ca or visit your healthcare provider for a test.

Here at AIDS Vancouver we encourage everyone to make HIV testing a part of their regular health care maintenance routine. The only way to know your status is to be tested. When you visit your health care provider you can ask for an HIV test and know your status.

PEP is usually recommended when a high risk exposures is encountered. The side effects can be quite severe.. PEP has to be taken within 72 hours of the exposure.

I would encourage you to check out the following resources about HIV:

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

Hilary

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

helpline.aidsvancouver.org