Anonymous
Hello! I am very concerned. Because of winter cold and the dry season I have gotten many open wounds on my hands. Yesterday I walked into a public restroom and peed. Before I flushed the toilet, my phone fell into the toilet water. I quickly dipped my hand with open wounds into the public toilet water to retrieve my phone. My cuts were bleeding before I dipped my hand in the toilet water. Is it possible to get HIV/AIDS or any kind of STD ir disease from my open wounds dipping into a female public bathroom toilet water. Im afraid a woman with HIV/AIDS or an std might have used the toilet on her period. Before i peed the water looked fine though. Is it possible I can get HIV? 
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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 possibility of HIV transmission through bleeding open wounds on your hands that were in contact with toilet water, which appeared clear but may have been previously contaminated with blood. From the information provided, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (HIV transmission is not possible in the given scenario). 


HIV (contained in a body fluid such as blood) is extremely sensitive to the outer environment. Exposure to oxygen in an environment outside of the body causes HIV to undergo a rapid reduction in concentration (1). From the CDC, HIV that may be contained in a fluid (in this case being the toilet water that you touched), has a rapid (within several hours) reduction in concentration of 90-99% (1). Although you did have open and actively bleeding wounds, you are not at risk of HIV transmission due to this reason. T
his situation does not meet the requirements for the HIV Transmission Equation (see image below) as the toilet water that was in contact with your hands did not have sufficient access to your bloodstream through a High, Low, or Negligible Risk activity.  

RecommendationThere is no evidence or no documented cases of transmission. Refer to a healthcare professional for more personalized answers or other health-related questions.

All the best,
AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline, Shirley

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Helpline Transmission Equation .jpg
Additional Resources: 
(1) HIV Environmental Exposure

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