Anonymous
Hello,
This may seem like a silly question and most likely my OCD at work but I would like some reassurance. Here's my situation:
A couple weeks back I used a public toilet. The day before I developed a chafing rash on my inner thigh from running. So I used the toilet which I covered with paper towels. When I was finished I noticed that my rash was bleeding and was pressed against the paper towels on the toilet seat. I'm now scared thinking what if there was hiv blood on the seat that went through the paper towel and into my bleeding rash! I don't remember seeing any blood on the seat initially but I'm not sure. Is infection possible this way? Am I being paranoid? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Anonymous
Hello and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline with your questions! I am happy to help you.

It sounds like you are very concerned about the ways in which HIV is transmitted, and if it could have been transmitted to you. The good news is, in this situation, there is no risk involved. This is because the HIV virus dies when it is exposed to air (it doesn't like living outside of the human body), so any bodily fluid present on the toilet seat would not have posed a risk. Furthermore, the rash you described, although bleeding, is likely not deep enough to provide access to your bloodstream for the virus to enter. These 2 reasons inhibit the possibility of HIV transmission to you.

The question you asked was a good one, and is actually asked pretty often. You are not being paranoid, you were just missing some important HIV facts to help you determine your risk level! I'm glad you contacted us. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

In health,

Caroline

AIDS Vancouver Helpline Online Volunteer

Monday-Friday 10am-4pm PST

604-253-0566 ext 299

Private and Confidential
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