[Question #2766] Am I at risk?

40 months ago
Hello. I'm a 26 years old healthy female from India. I don say that I'm a germophobic, but I really fear non-curable diseases. I had a silly encounter today.
I was at the mall, and I normally clean the toilet seat while using a public restroom. But I was in bit of a situation and I did not pay attention to the pot seat this time. However, when I stood up, I did notice my thighs being wet with some kinda secretion. I dont know if it was water, vaginal secretions, or something else. My basic question is is it possible to get infected with HIV with toilet seats? would me having cuts put me at risk, if the body fluid came in contact with the cuts? 
Does HIV spread through surface contamination in rare cases with body fluids present on it? ( I feel my luck is really hard on med, and unusually things go wrong with me!! )
I read on one post that hiv dies when exposed to air, but does the time differ?
can immediate contact with the body fluids in the environment holds some risk?
I practice safe sex and have never done drugs. 
Your response is much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll be glad to comment.  Your question is one that comes up frequently and reflects a widely held misperception about the mechanisms by which STIs (including HIV) are spread.  These bacteria and viruses are remarkably sensitive to the environment and become non-infectious virtually immediately on exposure to the air or upon to temperatures lower than body temperature.  In addition, the transmission of STI viruses and bacteria required DIRECT contact of the organisms with cells that are susceptible to becoming infected. Skin surface cells such as the skin on your legs or bottom is very resistant to infection, even if there are abrasions or open sores present.  As a result, even if you did happen to sit on bodily fluids or secretions from an infected person when you sat on a toilet seat, in the time it took for that person to leave the toilet and for you to go in and sit down, it would not be possible to become infected.  Thus while the concept of sitting upon someone else's bodily fluids is not pleasing it is not a health risk and not something you should worry about.

I hope that this comment is helpful to you.  EWH
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40 months ago
Hello Dr. Thank you for your reply. Even if the toilet was used immediately, still would not change the infectivity?
Also, if a women who would be menstruating bleeds into the pot and if the blood doesnt get flushed satisfactorily, and then the water (with the blood) from the pot would splash and touch in my vagina and anus, would it cause infection? sorry this is completely hypothetical, but I would rather clear all my doubts than to obsesses over it. Thanks.
Any body fluid exposed to the air would not have any sort of risk at all for HIV? is there a particular time requirement for this to happen?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
The timing is irrelevant.  As I said above, even IMMEDIATE exposure would not put you at risk for HIV or other STI.  Similarly, these sorts of exposures to menstual blood would not lead to infection.  EWH---
40 months ago
okay. and is hiv spread through saliva from an infected person??? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
No, HIV is not spread from person to person in saliva.  Not if the exposure involves spitting, not through kissing.

This is my third response to this series of questions.  As per Forum Guidelines, this thread will be closed later today. Take care.   EWH 
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40 months ago
okay. just one last question, sorry for this.
I had sexual intercourse last night. i had a fresh wound with the prick of a safety pin. my boyfriend spilt the ejaculatory fluid over it by mistake, while it was still bleeding. do i need to get myself tested?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
No.  EWH
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