A124358b
So I was at a public beach bathroom that was pretty gross - my wrapped tampon fell on the wet floor near the door of the stall. I debated using it for a little then decided to pick it up (the outer wrapper was slightly wet from where it hit the ground) and open it. The inside applicator looked untouched/dry so I used it because my flow was super heavy and I didn’t have anything else. Now I totally regret this decision.

What if something from the gross floor like blood from the person right before me did get on the applicator and then I used it. Would I be at risk? Would a minute be enough time for the virus to be inactive in the water/whatever was on the floor? 

I went to see my Primary care and she said I shouldn’t worry, but I can’t help it. Do you agree that this is a no risk situation? Do I need to get tested? I’m married with children and have no other reason to get tested other than for this incident.  Help please, my anxiety is through the roof 🙁 

Thanks for taking the time to help address my fears. I appreciate it! 
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helpline-volunteer
Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of HIV transmission after using a tampon that had come in contact with the floor of a public washroom. Based on the information provided, this scenario is determined to be of No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

In order for transmission to occur, a number of requirements must be met (see below). 

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HIV transmission requires the presence of HIV positive fluid (such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-cum, rectal fluid, breastmilk, etc), coupled with a High, Low, or Negligible Risk activity, that provides the virus direct access to the bloodstream. 

The activity you described above is of No Risk as the transmission equation is not satisfied. This is because "HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host" (1). Once exposed to oxygen,  HIV undergoes a rapid reduction in concentration. Therefore, in the event that there was any HIV positive fluid present on the floor, the virus would be rendered inactive following exposure to oxygen, making it intransmissible. 

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

Regards,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Ashley 

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Additional Resources:
HIV inactive CDC (1)
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